Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 2013. Alliance Films, Automatik, Blumhouse Productions, Cinema Vehicle Services. Screenplay by Scott Stewart. Cinematography by David Boyd. Produced by Jason Blum. Music by Joseph Bishara. Production Design by Jeff Higinbotham. Costume Design by Kelle Kutsugeras. Film Editing by Peter Gvozdas.
When you’re already struggling to make ends meet under the crunch of the financial crisis, alien invasion does you no favours. Keri Russell is a frustrated real-estate agent whose currently unemployed husband Josh Hamilton is frequently staring at unpaid mortgage bills. Their lives are thrown into disarray when strange events begin to occur on their property: birds flying into their windows en masse, their children having strange sleepless nights because of odd figures appearing in the shadows. Russell eventually understands that they are being visited by nasty aliens; Hamilton thinks she’s nuts, but eventually begins to believe the same thing. The combined elements don’t always work here: this family is constrained by financial trouble and it could be feeding their otherworldly paranoia, but the film does not explore this psychological quandary, giving concrete evidence for the audience way too early for there to be much doubt. How much scarier it would be if the very telling of the story were uncertain as much as it details are (the scene with alien invasion expert J.K. Simmons is a missed opportunity). Its moments of chills really do shake one up, however, with some effectively scary moments that make it worth the effort even if it never manages to get to the level of a classic.