Fantasia Review: Ejecta Manages to Make Aliens Scary Again

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file_176571_0_shock-score-7.90x72ejecta posterI am not fond of alien movies, save for a few. I think I have said that before and I will say it again to be clear on my stance. That being said, Ejecta utilizes a powerful script, tension-building techniques and a dominant acting presence to create one solid extraterrestrial flick.

Ejecta tells the story of William Cassidy (Julian Richings) and his encounter of the third kind. William is a man plagued by strange occurrences: mass memory removal, floating on water, and mostly noises and voices in his head.

Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold) is an alien chaser who is contacted by Cassidy on the night of a solar flare on scale with the Carrington Event, essentially a solar event that could knock Earth off of its natural rotation and throw the world into disarray. We are introduced to William being tracked down by some sort of military sect and taken in for interrogations and from here on out we are constantly switching back and forth between footage of William undergoing painful questioning from Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle) and an interview he is having with Joe. Through these contrasting glimpses we are shown the story of a truly terrifying alien invasion.

Ejecta isn’t so much horror as it is a very tense science fiction ride. Tony Burgess proved that he knows how to write a zombie flick with Pontypool and it’s safe to say he has a grasp on the alien genre as well. The script has a firm hold of believability, throwing astrological data at the viewer without ever drowning them in genius level jargon. Burgess has written a script that shows strength in building tension at a steady and fluid rate that never leaves you bored or overwhelmed. He manages to intricately pluck at most our innate fears of the unknown and the pure vastness of the universe while keeping the viewer entirely grounded in just a few locations in rural America. The juxtaposition of the initial contact and the fallout of the event does a wonderful job at balancing the movie while never allowing us to fully let our guard down.

A lot of credit has to be given to directors Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele as well. They’ve managed to create a highly produced science fiction film on a moderate budget. By using different techniques to their advantage, such as the shaky quality of handheld cameras and atmospheric sound engineering, they make the most with what they have.The runaway star of the whole show is Julian Richings. What a stand out performance he brings to the table. He manages to make William an incredibly vulnerable yet hardened and steadfast individual. You can really see the pain he experiences, physical or mental, in every scene he is in. He is such a broken man yet time and time again you see his resolve win out and Richings just does an excellent job at making all of it so believable. The rest of the acting crew are essentially vessels to tell his story and while some work is done to make them more human, with motives and drives, they simply can’t help but fall by the wayside when side by side with Richings.

While Ejecta has a few jump scares here and there, and even a chase scene through the woods, it’s far more unnerving than horrifying. The alien creatures do bring some scares, the real horror is the way it toys with the mortality of people and the planet. It has a definite ’80s vibe to it, imagine Close Encounters but nothing heartwarming about it, and winds up being an overall enjoyable low budget, high production sci-fi flick.

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Weekend: Oct. 18, 2018, Oct. 21, 2018

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