A riotous hybrid of alien mayhem and cabin-in-the-woods horror, this movie has a playful tone that makes it thoroughly entertaining. So even if the big emotional beats don't quite work and the plot seems to shift gears a few to many times, the film is still scary and gleefully yucky. The Vicious Brothers (aka Stuart Ortiz and Colin Minihan) clearly know their way around the various genres, and have a great time mashing them up into something inventive and involving.
It starts with plans for a romantic weekend in an isolated family cabin that's about to be sold off. April (Brittany Allen) is looking forward to time with her boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma), and is more than a little annoyed that he invites his chucklehead pal Seth (Jesse Moss) and his friends Melanie and Lex (Melanie Papalia and Anja Savcic) along. Even before they connect with pot-growing neighbour Travis (Michael Ironside), their high-spirited antics have attracted the attention of Sheriff Murphy (Gil Bellows). But he's a bit preoccupied by reports of strange attacks and disappearances that are being blamed on invading aliens. Clearly there's something bigger going on here, and while Travis is sure it's a government conspiracy, Murphy's deputy Mitchell (Sean Rogerson) thinks it has more to do with a cabin full of drug-tripping teens.
The film looks terrific, with above-average effects that never take over the action. Designs reference most of the classic alien movies, but with a horror twist that makes everything a bit more menacing. And as the filmmakers deploy every cliche in the book, they also manage to keep us on our toes by constantly undermining expectations. This includes the introductory section in which April and Kyle get to develop a bit of emotional momentum in their relationship, which carries right through to the final moments of the film. Although once the craziness breaks loose, Allen and Stroma are rather a lot more limited in the subtext they can add to the characters. It's hard to add texture when you're running and screaming, although Bellows makes his skeptical, stoic cop intriguingly haunted.
Continue reading: Extraterrestrial Review
Fans of the TV series and 2011 first movie probably won't mind that the filmmakers never bother to develop these characters at all. At least the four lead actors have plenty of charm to paper over the thinly written script, making the most of even the most simpleminded gags while playing up the traits that have kept fans coming back since the TV show debuted in 2008. The actors are now between 27 and 30, but the idiots they play are resolutely stuck in their teens.
Having finally survived high school, Jay (James Buckley) takes a gap year in Australia while his pal Will (Simon Bird) has a lonely first year at university. Even a visit from pals Simon and Neil (Joe Thomas and Blake Harrison) fails to cheer Will up, but a suggestion that they drain their student loans and head Down Under to visit Jay is more like it. Jay has painted a picture of sex-crazed party mayhem, but when they land in Sydney the reality is somewhat different. So when hot babe Katie (Emily Berrington) invites Will to come to Byron Bay with her gang of middle-class hippies, he drags his mates along. But these four guys fail to fit into the backpacking lifestyle, and instead head to the Outback to find Jay's ex.
The film opens in a nicely cinematic style, with slick spoofs of both Harry Potter and Scarface before settling into the usual groove: setting up each sequence as a possibility for sex before everything unravels into humiliating chaos. The problem is that this repetitive cycle is all set-up but almost never any pay-off. A waterslide sequence is a hilarious exception, building a queasy sense of suspense before landing a series of riotously revolting punchlines. But more often the characters are left staring into space before muttering, "OK then," before the screen fades to black as if it's time for an ad break.
Continue reading: The Inbetweeners 2 Review
Freddie Stroma, Harry Potter and Empire Leicester Square Tuesday 7th July 2009 World Premiere of Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince at the Empire Leicester Square cinema - arrivals London, England