I wake up screaming!
Around 18 or so months ago I started writing film reviews on this blog and the first film I went with was the excellent “Exit Humanity”. It is one of my favourite zombie films and one of the main reasons for that is the characters. They are all played excellently by their respective cast members and it brings you into the story. So whilst scanning through the channels the other night, I noticed that it was on and I started watching it, even though I have it on Blu-Ray and could watch it anytime I want.
Whilst in the middle of watching it I started wondering what the cast members had done since. Whilst I’ve seen Bill Moseley in other films, namely the poor “Old 37”, I hadn’t seen anything from the rest and therefore I looked into their filmographies, and was surprised to see that three of the cast members had been in another film together, with Seybold, Gibson and Millen all working together again on the poorly rated (IMDB rating of 3.7/10 at the time of writing) sci-fi film “Ejecta”.
Instantly I was fascinated, and watching the trailer I was more than a little curious as it looked to basically be an episode that was rejected script from the X-Files or Outer Limits. I still decide to watch it, mainly because I haven’t reviewed a lot recently…..so here it is.
William (Richings) claims to have been abducted by aliens nearly 40 years ago and has since become one of the most controversial online bloggers, spouting conspiracy theories. Believing him, a secret agency kidnaps him and tries to force information out of him through torture, lead by Dr. Tobin (Houle). She and the agents around her use various alien devices to try and force information out of him, but all fail and even attempts at outright killing him end with nothing more than a shrug. Dr. Tobin even kills several of her staff when they fail to get the information, however, they soon discover home-made videos that were filmed 24 hours prior that might give them answers..
The videos chronicle William being visited by conspiracy-theory nut Joe (Seybold) after he was invited via email, although William can’t remember writing that email. Joe struggles to get information out of William, they eventually see a space-ship crash and Joe in particularly is violently pursued by the creature that was inside.
As the night progressed, Joe struggles to fight off the alien, and Dr. Tobin can’t help but watch in fascination as his fate is revealed, not knowing that by torturing William she has actually sealed her own fate.
Is 3.7/10 justified?
No, not really. Now I’m going to come right out of the bat and say that this will not be getting the approval stamp, whilst “Ejecta” is better than a 3.7/10, it’s definitely not worth more than a 5/10.
I’m going to start this with the main problem with “Ejecta” and that is that the film doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. One minute it is a torture film in which information is trying to be extracted, the next it’s a found footage film, then it’s back to torture before going into a covert-ops style hunt, it’s very inconsistent and it all feels very distorted. With the camera work constantly changing, it’s hard to find your feet as the film progresses as one minute you’re watching what looks like a very professional film, and the next you’re looking at something that could have easily been filmed on a low budge phone.
The soundtrack and the use of it certainly don’t help this situation as the music is played so loudly at times that you can’t understand what the characters are trying to say. You’ve got the film-makers trying to create tension with the music in situations that don’t deserve it and films such as The Thing work so well because it doesn’t try to force the music to create the tension, although it definitely helps augment the sense of fear and stress that it already there.
William just becomes boring as a character. Julian Richings plays him very well, but that’s not a hard push when the character barely says anything during the film and after a while, especially in the torture sections of the film, you don’t really care that much about what happens to him because it’s just dragged on and on and on. There’s no real engagement with him as a character because other than what happens to him in the end in his final interaction with Joe, you don’t really get to see anything other than a guy who speaks in riddles, if indeed he speaks at all, and just mopes around.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that a character that goes through something like this would be traumatised, but it just doesn’t make for a good film or character. Then again, I preferred his character to that of Dr Tobin, a character that is written to show pretty much every emotional state, but just isn’t that interesting in the long run and without telling you what her final fate is, when it came to it I really wasn’t that fussed about it because her character was just an awful antagonist. She’s not engaging, or entertaining, and this isn’t helped by a largely forgettable performance from Lisa Houle, who, to sum up her level of performance, has only had two film roles since the turn of the millennium to accompany a sporadic array of TV shows here and there.
I briefly touched on the acting of Richings there and he is one of the several competent acts throughout the film. Adam Seybold is excellent as a sci-fi fan and fellow conspiracy nut, and even though his presence on screen doesn’t last that long, Ari Millen’s showing as Agent Rudder is memorable, if for nothing more than when the camera randomly pans to him and and shows his reactions to something that doesn’t involve him. Unfortunately Mark Gibson doesn’t contribute to a decent trio of showings from the members of the Exit Humanity cast as he is largely forgettable in his role as Agent Brinkman. Now don’t get me wrong, he does nothing wrong, but the character is practically pointless and is never seen other than brief glances through a night-vision camera.
Ejecta offers precisely nothing that you haven’t already seen before and feels lost on a regular basis as it tries to desperately draw you in as an audience member….and fails miserably. You can’t have your main character mope around and barely say anything in the film as it just becomes tired and you stop caring about them. It’s definitely not helped when you don’t care about the antagonist either.
Whilst the acting is relatively decent throughout by the majority, they are let down by an inconsistent plot, tone and a soundtrack and makes you want to mute the whole thing.
It’s not as bad as 3.7/10, but it’s definitely not much better.