Film Review: Extinction (2018)

‘As generic-as-they-come in terms of alien invasion films’

Extinction, 2018

Directed by: Ben Young

Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Michael Pena, Mike Colter, Lilly Aspell, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard

 

Peter (Michael Pena) is haunted by vivid visions of an alien invasion and slowly they begin to affect his working and personal life. He’s close to seeing a psychiatrist to solve the issues but someone else is revealed to be suffering the same visions. But what is the meaning behind the visions when the aliens actually do arrive?

This is as generic-as-they-come in terms of alien invasion films with an intriguing twist that comes at an awful time during the film. For the invasion itself, the alien invaders look and come across as menacing, but we don’t care about the characters so the alien forces lose their appeal somewhat. And the idea of the visions added an extra element (as we know the aliens will eventually come) but, as we find out later on in the film, we only see a small part of the overall nightmare he suffers from. It’s frustrating that they hid this form us because it means we don’t know everything that Peter knows; he’s constantly one knowledge level above us. And once the aliens attack, the characters, despite being in a fight for survival, turn into complete idiots. One of his daughters, despite being instructed to remain in the closet, leaves and walks into the kitchen for her teddy bear and gets caught by the alien which causes another attack. There’s also a moment with Peter and an alien which, while it benefits them later on, in the moment it just comes across as strange.

Extinction, 2

And much like the recent War of the Worlds remake, the father is presented as an absent/poor father, something which isn’t brought up too much afterwards (it is hinted early on but becomes more serious after he misses family night due to falling asleep).

There is a twist, as mentioned, but it falls at the complete wrong time during the film. At roughly the hour mark into a 90-minute film, it comes too late for it to be a major part of the subsequent storyline and too early for a whole film re-think. It’s also quite poorly told to us with an over-long and extravagant series of scenes retelling everything that has left up to this twist, including the full nightmare he has seemingly been having, which had either been forgotten or ignored up until then, despite there being ways of showing most of the nightmare and leaving us with the questions than simply having him see the initial attack and not much else. It’s also so dark that half of the time you can’t tell what’s going on.

This is yet another sci-fi Netflix film to fall somewhat disappointingly (after How it Ends and The Cloverfield Paradox) and it’s not too difficult to see how this film was both scheduled for a cinematic release (the twist alone is a story worth telling) and subsequently cancelled form that cinematic release (due to poor storytelling and bland characters).

 

Personal: * *     Acting: * *     Writing: * *     Presentation: * *

Overall Rating: * *

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