Ejecta (2015)

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I’ll be the first to admit to having a list of certain topics & genres that always lure me in, no matter what the apparent quality of the individual pictures may be. If a film has something to do with one of my pet obsessions, such as pop music, witchcraft, pro wrestling, etc. I’m highly likely to tune in no matter what. One of the absolute easiest ways to get my butt in a theater seat, for instance, is to slap a sci-fi tag on a film. Just this year alone I’ve been burned by the likes of Jupiter Ascending, Alien Outpost, and The Lazarus Effect all because they promised sci-fi content & I couldn’t resist.

And now you can go ahead & Ejecta to the list of 2015’s shoddiest sci-fi movies that hold promise solely in the potential of their genre, delivering nothing of interest once they get you sitting in front of the screen. Getting pulled in this way has also introduced me to some great pictures that’ll stick with me for a long time coming, such as Spring, Ex Machina, and Predestination, but every now & then a slog like Ejecta will make me question whether or not those rewards are worth the pained efforts required to find the gems among the trash. The film declares its shitty quality early, opening with an on-screen blog post that reads “Tonight the universe is no larger than my head. It’s time to make room for visitors,” & following that empty sentiment with an angsty prologue about how “We’re all so stupid” (meaning we Earthlings) and so on & so forth. Well, I did continue watch Ejecta after the one minute mark, so I guess that last part is actually fairly accurate.

A found footage sci-fi horror cheapie with a framing device in which one interview flashbacks to a second, earlier interview, Ejecta is a thoroughly frustrating exercise in weak storytelling. While being interrogated by some government suits about a possible encounter with “advanced life forms”, our protagonist Bill tells his side of the story by flashing back to the day before, when he was interviewed for a documentary called Extraterrestrial Territory: Things Beyond Our Atmosphere, an exposé only the most dedicated Coast to Coast AM fans could love. As the government bullies start torturing Bill with some Disturbing Behavior-esque headgear in order to coax more information out of him, it’s all too easy to sympathize with the tormentors more than the victim. Tell us what happened, Bill! Show us some aliens already! Bill himself, played by an emaciated Julian Richings (who was much more fun playing villain in the recent Cabbage Patch horror flick Patch Town), is easily the most alien thing we’re shown onscreen for much of the film’s run time. Tormented by some kind of Freddy Krueger-like extraterrestrial invasion that occupies his mind instead of a physical space, Bill only allows himself several hours of sleep every few days or so & he totally looks it.

A competent, strange-looking lead actor can hardly support a feature film on its own, though. As much as Ejecta reaches for every out-there sci-fi idea it can think of (including alien autopsies, UFO crashes, and body snatching), watching a freaked out Julian Richings dispense one piece of info at a time without actually showing us any of the action (outside of a very brief shot of a Humanoids from the Deep-type alien filmed through wooden slats) just doesn’t cut it. The movie promises all & delivers nothing. It’s genuinely hard to believe that it only ran for 82 minutes, adding a meta layer of audience-participatory time travel to an otherwise mundane experience that I swear dragged on for several hours. It’s a terrible film & trying to piece together details of it now makes me feel just as ragged & tortured as Bill looked trying to remember his extraterrestrial experience onscreen. It’s not a sensation that I can recommend.

-Brandon Ledet

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