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rochefort [Film Festival 03.24.10] movie review scifi

Year: 2010
Directors: Clay Liford
Writers: Clay Liford
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: rochefort
Rating: 3 out of 10

During an operation aboard an international spacecraft, astronaut Sean (Matt Socia) witnesses a strange event involving a spiky object that appears just outside of the ship. The next day, back on earth, a disjointed group of people begin to show signs of physical deformity as horn-like bulbs appear on their foreheads, including Judith (Rebecca Spence), a restless high school teacher stuck in a bland marriage. A new student named Abby (Amelia Turner) arrives at Judith's school and soon reveals that she, too, has the strange growths on her head, and soon involves Judith with an underground network of earthlings who believe they are displaced aliens.

Nobody can intentionally make a "cult" film. No matter how successful "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", or "The Room" turned out, the filmmakers' initial intentions were very different from the reasons audiences would later embrace them. At least Richard O'Brien, who designed "Rocky Horror" as a straightforward mix of horror film and musical, admits being pleasantly surprised at the way audiences came to talk back to the screen and throw rice during the wedding scenes. But he never saw it coming. And if "Earthling" enjoys any success beyond its screenings at a handful of festivals, including the recent premiere at South by Southwest, it will have absolutely nothing to do with what writer-director Clay Liford set out to do. Go ahead and call me audacious if you want, but once you see the movie for yourself, you'll get it. But by all means do see it, because with "Earthling" you are witnessing the birth of a new sub-genre: Indiecore by way of Ed Wood. Depending on how you determine entertainment value, it's either that bad, or that awesome.

So Judith is a teacher who is going through some trouble. She's got problems with her husband, is being stalked by one of her young, pretty, female students, and she's got two devil-horn-style bumps growing on her forehead. But darn it, she just can't deny how drawn she is to Abby, the wise-past-her-years, pot-dealing teen who likes to take other girls down to the local pond (or maybe it's a lake; it's small, anyway), for a bit of lesbian experimentation now and then. But Judith is different, of course, because she and Abby are both aliens. And in their old alien form, they were married. Yup. Take that, "Crying Game". Abby introduces her to a small network of other earthbound aliens, all of whom have basically stolen the human bodies they currently inhabit, and they try to persuade her to join them, even though some of them want to return to "the source" (the aforementioned strange cosmic ball of weirdness), while the others are perfectly happy as humans.

Dodgy. All of it very, very dodgy, from the extremely low-budget and not-so-enthralling special effects, to the extremely earnest and often hysterical performances, to Liford's insistent reliance on numerous montages and dream sequences to, you know, remind you that you're watching some art.

The aliens themselves are little loogie-like tadpoles that slide through the grass and have really sad-sounding squeaks. Massively huge chunks of exposition are hurled like buckets of coal into a furnace, and I use that comparison because both make you cough a lot. William Katt shows up as the father of Sean, the astronaut who first encountered the space pinecomb, and Katt's scenes do an excellent job of showcasing his thick head of curly hair and matching curly goatee.

Gosh, folks, I'm sorry, but I'm just calling it like I see it. Not everyone can pull the same amount of enjoyment from a train wreck. Snideness aside, there's no way to take this one seriously, or review it from such a perspective. If you're looking for the next Saturday night party movie, this one might not fit the bill, but it could very well result in a good time if you get together with a handful of movie nerds and make like the MST3K guys, because if any recent film seems tailor-made for that kind of notoriety, it's this one.


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Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

Well this is disappointing. I had high hopes for this one.


joanna (12 years ago) Reply

I agree, it's definitely a huge disappointment regarding the story, the plot, the characters. They are too soap-opera-like, and some of the things seem to be a liitle bit to fake, to self-imposed as for a statement to be made, like in Judith's case.

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