Monday, 9 February 2015

Ejecta

I remember it like it was just yesterday. It was back in late December of 1995. For Christmas I got a Game Gear with the attachable TV Tuner. The TV Tuner, once attached to the top of the Game Gear, could pick up a few analogue TV signals. You had to tune them in of course, but because we only had one TV in the house at that point, being able to sit in bed and watch episodes of Transformers, Thundercats and Babar was awesome. However, during the night in question none of those shows were on TV. Instead I tuned in BBC 2 and began to watch a movie that was just starting. The movie was Fire in the Sky, which is based upon the alleged alien abduction of Travis Walton, a logger from America. The movie mainly dealt with the aftermath of his abduction, but there was one scene that scared to shit out of me, and focused on a flashback of the experiments the aliens did on him. It's some pretty out there shit, and it both scared and thrilled me. I didn't go to bed actually thinking little grey men were outside my window, but I didn't exactly sleep soundly either. After that I clamoured for any movie that ticked both the boxes of “aliens” and “horror”, so considering this next movie ticked both of those, my hopes were high for something truly terrifying. 


Directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Ejecta, a movie that is a blend of one great performance, low-budget effects, effective pacing, superb writing and a tired implementation of shaky cam- Simply put,  Ejecta is a mixed bag. Ejecta focuses on the character of William Cassidy, a blogger who, after 40+ years of being randomly abducted by aliens, spends most of his life in fear. However, Cassidy reaches out to the only person he believes will believe, trust and understand him, Joe Sullivan, an alien researcher. But Cassidy isn't only inviting Sullivan over to dish out tales of various alien probings, as they're meeting on the night that he believes a solar flare will hit the Earth, which will ultimately prove disastrous for the planet.


Right off the bat Ejecta needs to be given praise for its script and performance by Julian Richings, who plays the paranoia ridden William Cassidy. Written by author Tony Burgess, who also wrote the screenplay for the big screen adaptation to his zombie based novel Pontypool, Ejecta is smartly written, nicely paced and is more than what it appears to be on the surface. One aspect that I loved in Ejecta was the fact that the film keeps cutting back and forth from two time periods, with the first being the meeting between Cassidy and Sullivan, while the second takes place after that meeting and involves Cassidy being interrogated by an unseen person. It breaks up the movie nicely, keeps the viewer questioning what's going on and generally makes for an interesting narrative structure. Keeping track of both time periods is essentiall to truly understanding what's going on, and Ejecta plays this aspect out wonderfully.

Then there's Julian Richings' role which, as the movie is full of forgettable, bland and generally generic performances, keeps Ejecta afloat whereas without him it would have been an acting mess. He literally dives into the role, and the amount of tortured, tired and painful anguish on his face is remarkable. Clearly this guy has seen some shit, and compared to the usual carefree movie alien abductee, Richings' brings a terrific performance to Ejecta that I wasn't really expecting from a super low-budget science fiction. The same can't be said for the rest of the case though, as they mostly come across like they were hired on Craigslist under the part-time job section.

Ejecta fails in a few areas though, the biggest of them being its heavy use of shaky cam. Literally every single scene that focuses on action or aliens is incredibly shaky, often to the point of nausea. I understand what the film-makers are doing here, but regardless if it's done to either obscure low-budget effects or create a sense of terror, a static camera, if implemented properly, can achieve the same results. Fire in the Sky's most terrifying scene wasn't filmed with shaky cam, didn't try and obscure the horror before us and often didn't let our imaginations fill in the blanks. It was a ballsy move but it worked. Due to Ejecta's somewhat erratic use of “found footage” scenes, the result is often blurry and annoying.


This, alongside the pretty lacklustre cast beyond the excellent Riching's, ends up making Ejecta a sub-par if enjoyable film. It's got jump scares, shaky cam and often uses the “found footage” approach, but Ejecta isn't as typical or as generic as you might think. It's a decent movie with big ideas.

Ejecta is a decent sci-fi alien horror and gets a 3/5.

★★★☆☆

Denis Murphy


Ejecta at CeX


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