Friday, November 28, 2014

EJECTA (Review) - BITS 2014

EJECTA (2014)

review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele
Written by Tony Burgess

Starring Julian Richings, Lisa Houle, Adam Seybold, 
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Somewhere along the way, alien invasion films lost their edge. 

The image of UFOs, strange beings from beyond the stars, and the terror of alien abduction have become so over-played in popular culture that there's nothing really alien about them anymore. The films of the 1950s turned these scenarios into camp while the 1980s tried to bring them back with a heavy dose of body horror that has for whatever reason (I blame CGI) fallen out of favor with audiences. Now, alien invasion films are far more comfortable than they are disturbing. They're safe. Fodder for bloated, explosion-filled summer blockbusters. Then comes EJECTA, the latest film from the Canadian movie house Foresight Features. Pinned down by a pitch-perfect performance by Julian Richings as an alien abduction survivor, supplied with intriguing ideas and dialogue by rebel writer Tony Burgess (Pontypool), and duo-directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele, Ejecta triumphantly puts the "alien" back in alien invasion. It's a subtle, tense, and never completely comfortable hour and 20 minutes of alien horror meets torture drama. Next to Exit HumanityEjecta is without a doubt the greatest film to come out of Foresight Features.


40 years ago, William Cassidy (Julian Richings) had an interaction with an extraterrestrial being that left something behind in his mind. Now a recluse who blogs under a pseudonym about his extraterrestrial experiences and theories, Cassidy cannot sleep more than a few hours a night because he is tortured by strange sensations, feelings, and ideas that pass through him like a conduit from unseen alien forces. Sometimes he even wakes up covered in blood, or walking down a highway, or two states over with absolutely no memory of how he got there. It is during one of these blackouts that he contacts Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold), a young UFO researcher and conspiracy theorist, and invites him to a secluded location on the night of a large solar flare event. A solar flare event that knocks something dark and alien out of the sky. The film then switches back and forth between scenes of Cassidy as he's interrogated and tortured by the military and the found footage from Sullivan's camera that reveals what exactly happened on that fateful night of the solar event. Something has made contact with the earth. And it is not friendly.
They're heeeeeere
Ejecta was shot for a very modest budget, but it uses its resources extremely well. Directors Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele turn in a very polished and professional film. By keeping the aliens on the margins of the story -- creeping in the dark just on the edge of the clearing, plummeting from the sky in a frustratingly shadowy and undefinable craft, or emanating from Julian Richings's voice as disembodied gods -- Ejecta avoids the cliches of many other alien horror films. Instead, Ejecta focuses its attention on Richings's wonderfully weary performance as a man whose gifted touch with the cosmos has cursed him with nothing but pain and confusion. He is Icarus but instead of heading for the sun on wings of wax the sun came, uninvited and unstoppable, to him. Whether he's speaking to Sullivan's camera or facing off against a cruel military interrogator played by Lisa Houle, Richings grounds the film in his embodiment of this alienated and tortured character.
Julian Richings is electric in more ways than one
Truth be told, Ejecta does get a bit tedious around the third act when we're presented with the found footage of Cassidy and Sullivan's encounter with some deadly aliens. It's a lot of the shaky cam and barely-can-see-anything-in-the-dark cost-cutting cinematography that mars far too many low budget POV horror films. There are some genuinely scary moments in these sequences, but there are just as many lame jump scares and nauseatingly blurry camera movements. Ejecta is best and most frightening when Richings has full command of the screen, either monologing like a master or completely crushing it in scenes of physical contortion. Lisa Houle, by comparison, seems to have a hard time keeping up without resorting to making some very hammy performance choices.
E.T gets creepy
If you're looking for some modest but satisfying sci-fi horror thrills from a narrative that keeps itself always just slightly off-center from what you expect or are used to seeing, you're going to enjoy Ejecta. Ejecta is definitely a can't-miss film at this year's Blood in the Snow Film Festival.

Ejecta will have its Toronto Premiere this Saturday, November 29th at the 2014 BLOOD IN THE SNOW CANADIAN FILM FESTIVAL.

7:00 pm
Ejecta w. Uncommon Enemies
November 29th, 2014
The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival
Carlton Cinemas- 20 Carlton St. Toronto, ON.
BUY TICKETS @ BLOODINTHESNOW.CA



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