Saturday, June 20, 2015



Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight
Release Date: July 7th 2015 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 92 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD 7.1, DTS-HD MA 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Jabbar Raisani
Cast: Douglas Tait, Joe Reegan, Rick Ravanello, Reiley McClendon, Adrian Paul

Another week and we have another found-footage entry, this one is an alien-invasion war film shot docu-style with two journalist entering a war zone is Pakistan where we find a group of jarheads holding down Outpost 37 in a mountainous area of Pakistan. There's some world decent building right from the start with numerous text screens and confessional-style interviews with soldiers all of which establish the First Earth War of 2021, when a brutal alien force invaded Earth. The Earths forces were able to defeat the enemy, but during their retreat they left behind thousands of alien-soldiers, creating pockets of alien resistance which we are still fighting ten years later. . 

The human soldiers are a decent bunch of guys, not the most developed characters, but not quite the generic jarheads you might expect either. At times the docu-style cinematography felt a bit like watching a video game as you duck and dive and only catch glimpses of the larger picture around you, but you're never quite able to take in the whole picture, which left me wanting. The aliens are called "heavies" because of the heavy-armor they where, it is nearly impervious to standard weaponry, but the military have developed an armor-piercing round they calls "reds" that are nasty bit of business, which are cool, but you have to wonder why they have not developed something more massive after a decade of fighting the "heavies". 

Maybe one reason might be that the filmmakers have managed to create a world that seems based in reality and not too fantastic, the tech advances seem logical and not crazy advanced, we have no laser-weapons, meanwhile the "heavies" have plasma cannons. The endowment has a lived-in feel, the battle fatigued soldiers come across as standard alpha males, they're on a mission and are focused, but they are underfunded and over extended, and they are worn down. 

The "heavies" are glimpsed only fleeting for the most of the movie, they're hulking reptilian creatures armed with plasma rifles, they're humanoid and heavily armored, and they move really slowly. I liked the design and aesthetic of the aliens but their movement seemed unnaturally stilted which they didn't make for the most threatening menace, this was probably my least favored aspect of the film, they're underused and just not threatening enough, I found it hard to believe that ten years later we are still fighting these slow-moving invaders on our home turf. 

Thankfully we have a great cast of unrecognizable (to me, anyway) actors who do a great job in their respective roles, they sell the toughness and drama, and the battle sequences are well executed with some good large action set pieces throughout. The world-building touches help paint the bigger and more expansive picture, including the explanation of a world wide orbital defense system which is in place to deter future alien invasions, and it is brought to our attention that the local Pakistani people have an intolerance for the American jarheads, who they have violated their sovereignty, which feeds into the story later.  

The first two thirds of the story could be considered slow-paced, but they're creating the world with a lot of exposition put up through text screens and video interviews with the soldiers, there's discussion of the tumultuous political situation in the region and of course we're getting to know each of the soldiers, too. The final third is where the action comes on strong, we have a full on alien-incursion plenty of tense battle scenes, a lot of damage and one huge fireball, because who doesn't love an explosion, right? There's a nice twist that comes along towards the end that is hinted at throughout the movie, so while it wasn't a total surprise it was decent. 

Special Features
- Audio Commentary By Director/Co-Writer Jabbar Raisani And Director Of - Photography/Co-Writer Blake Clifton
- Interviews With Cast And Crew (16 Mins)
- Deleted Scenes (3 Mins)
- Theatrical Trailer (4 Mins) 

I'm not a huge fan of found-footage and docu-style shot movies, in fact I am pretty tired of it, but they did good with this one, the framing of the story didn't feel forced or awkward, until the shit hits the fan and then as ever I had to wonder who the fuck is still filming this? At least this one had the descency to point out we have a war-experienced cameraman shooting the footage, which counts for something. The young cast are solid, and while the story is not original the material is handled handled deftly. This one might not set the world on fire, in fact it will probably drift into obscurity, but this is a decent science-fiction actioner and deserving of a watch, at least a rental for sure. 2.5/5