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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Kids vs. Aliens (2023)

I saw this one pop up on Shudder and that combined with the fact that it is from the director of Hobo with a Shotgun I was sold. I mean I loved Hobo, and this was also based on a short he, Jason Eisener, directed for V\H\S\2 so I had high hopes. Where those hopes dashed or did I enjoy the feature length take on the story?

Right away it is established that something odd is happening as a bright light crashes into the ocean near some fishermen. When they are snatched off the boat by a creature in the water, we are given the proper foreshadowing. Then we meet our main characters. Teenager Samantha is babysitting/hanging out with her younger brother and his friends. They are making a movie about aliens and wrestling when some teenagers lead by the cool boy, Billy shows up at the barn. There is a bit of a conflict before Billy starts to flirt with Samantha. Well that isn’t going to end well.

Thru the flirting Billy convinces/manipulates Samantha into hosting a party at her family’s house while mom and dad are out of town. He then gives all his shitty friends permission to trash the place because he is a dick and was just using her. After that is established Aliens show up and attack the party hauling off a lot of the party goers including the little brother and his friends off to the lake. Samantha grabs some convenient scuba gear and goes after them. This leads her to the ship, which was underwater, where she finds a sword. The rest of the movie are the kids fighting the aliens all while Billy turns into a bigger and bigger asshat. Then we get to the end… Be warned spoilers are below.

The kids... don't get attached to them
Ready for the ending of the story? The government or perhaps an alien allied conspiracy shows up. They kill all the characters, again most of whom are just children, and put them in meat lockers with the alien bodies. The end. Seriously movie what the actual hell is this shit? But then I shouldn’t be surprised by such a nihilistic ending from a movie that completely misses the tone that I believe they were going for. The movie plays out like a tween type Goonies or Attack the Block style story. The protagonists are all younger and there is that over the top and at times silly (the sister finds a magical sword and cuts her way thru aliens to save the day!) vibe that is unique to movies or shows like this.

But then in a rather jarring and underwhelming turn of events the characters are dropping “F” bombs all over the place. I get that might be how kids talk but this is a movie about aliens invading a high school kegger so don’t try to pull that excuse on me. There is also some pretty nasty bullying that honestly isn’t ever resolved with the bullied kid getting their revenge/happy ending. Again, everyone freaking dies! I suppose unresolved storylines shouldn’t be that surprising. Though did we need to see their bodies hanging in cold storage as the last shot of the movie?

The Aliens look cool
For the budget we get a couple decent kills and the aliens are fine. Lots of aliens are hacked and run thru, which is fun. There is also a mutation where one of the teenagers is dumped with some goo that turns them into a monster. Why does this happen? They never explain it. Another of the teenagers gets dunked in some other goo and melts into liquid. That is a neat gag though they also never explain why that is happening. The lack of explanation is rather annoying given that Kids vs. Aliens is slow at times, despite only being seventy five minutes long. Some dialogue attempting to throw out theories from the characters for the audience to grab onto would have been a welcome respite from the yelling back and forth that we get.

This movie is an example of genres being stuck together when they probably shouldn’t. The language, gore, and nihilistic ending simply doesn’t mesh with the kids as main characters adventure story with some humor. What was the audience for this movie? And then we have the pacing issues that I briefly mentioned above as well. In the end this feels like a short that was extended into a feature without having enough meat on the bone nor a clear idea of who the audience was supposed to be. I can’t recommend it.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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