REVIEW: BEYOND SKYLINE (2017)

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BEYOND SKYLINE (2017)

2010’s Skyline was an awful alien invasion flick that centered around a bunch of boring characters in a condo dealing with an extraterrestrial incursion. Despite bad reviews, it still made a lot of money on a meager budget. Considering this, it’s actually surprising the flick took seven years to get a sequel. Follow-up takes place during the same event, but focuses on recently widowed cop, Mark Corley (Frank Grillo) and his troubled son, Trent (Jonny Weston). Along with other captives on an alien ship, Corley and son fight to escape. The plot then takes us on a goofy journey of stolen brains, rebellious robots, Asian outlaws, genetically altered babies and human resistance fighters…still with me?

Sequel is written and directed by Liam O’Donnell, who co-wrote the original, and it is a bit of an improvement. Original filmmakers Colin and Greg Strause, return to produce and let O’Donnell turn this into more of a straight-up action flick, with a solid and gory R rating, as opposed to the original’s PG-13. Unfortunately, the first time director also gets a bit over-indulgent with a very busy and silly script which finds the aliens harvesting human brains to control their machines and altering the DNA of human babies to accelerate their growth. We know this by running into pregnant Elaine (now Samantha Jean) and her boyfriend Jarrod (Tony Black) from the first movie, Jarrod, who’s brain is now in an alien drone. It is Jarrod that rebels and helps Corley by crashing the ship, turning the second half of the movie into a thriller about fighting back, when the survivors hit the ground running in what looks like Indonesia. This is where the Asian outlaws and human resistance fighters come in. It’s all very kooky and cliché, though at least O’Donnell takes the silly material seriously and doesn’t make a joke out of it. The action is fun and the FX are very good.

Adding Frank Grillo to this flick helps. Grillo is a solid leading man/action hero and takes the goofball script seriously and this helps us enjoy some of the more scatterbrained stuff. We also get The Hallow’s Bojana Novakovic as an LA subway driver, literally along for the ride, and she’s fine. There is also Antonio Fargas as a homeless, ex-soldier and Iko Uwais and Pamelyn Chee as outlaw siblings Sua and Kanya. Grillo is the strength here, but the rest of the cast do well enough.

Certainly more fun than the dull original, but also a lot goofier and with a far more convoluted and cliché plot. We get a lot of action, which includes spurting blood, some martial arts and even a Godzilla-esque giant monster battle. O’Donnell seems to be a bit better director than the Strauses, but is very overindulgent with his script. Grillo helps by doing a good job as it’s hero and the production value/ SPFX are quite solid. Ridiculous, but at least, not boring and there are also some fun bloopers during the end credits.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 angry aliens.

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: UNDER THE BED (2013)

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UNDER THE BED (2013)

Director Steven C. Miller’s low budget horror about two brothers (Jonny Weston and Gattlin Griffith) literally battling a monster beneath the bed, has some potential but, is sunk by a really badly written script by Eric Stolze and some terrible acting by Terry Hausman and Musetta Vander as the boys’ dad and step-mom. That and the fact that nothing much really happens in this plot hole ridden film until the last 10 minutes and despite a cool creature and some good gore, the fact that the story doesn’t seem to be following any sort of constructive narrative keeps it from being the least bit suspenseful or scary. What is going on and why? The creature seems to follow no real detectable pattern of behavior and it’s actions are constantly contradictory. A perfect example is that it scares step-mom, Angela (Vander) in the garage and then again later for no apparent reason as it’s biggest advantage is that the parents don’t believe in it, so, why reveal itself to the parents when the kids seem to be what it wants to begin with and it’s existence remained hidden. We are never given a reason for it’s being in the house or it’s targeting of the brothers and the resolution of the conflict is simply befuddling. If there was some sort of message or metaphor here, it’s buried under the inconsistent story and illogical activities of the characters and creature. If it was supposed to have something to do with the boys’ mom’s death 2 years earlier in the fire set by older brother Neal (Weston), that makes no sense as he set it battling the creature so it was already there before she died. Neal was having problems with ‘it’ long before the fire. And since the creature does claim victims, it’s obviously not a figment of unresolved guilt and is real within the context of the film. Others in the film see it too and fall victim to it. Again, the story makes no sense and the script defeats any attempt to make sense of it. Too bad, the kids perform very convincing, the creature and gore FX are good and with a better script, tighter direction and better actors as the adults, this might have been a somewhat entertaining low budget monster flick. As it is, there is little to recommend.

2 hot dogs… which has nothing to do with the movie but, since the movie makes no sense, my rating doesn’t have to either!

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