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.
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