To be honest, Jef is much more the one that likes the Sci-Fi horror thing. While I have nothing against a good Event Horizon or Alien those are just haunted house and monster movies respectively. When it comes to something like this where the main threat of the movie is “Aliens are inexplicably assholes to specifically you”, I tend not to get as invested. Not sure why but that’s historically been the case. Thankfully, this movie tends to be more about the looming threat and inexplicable happenings than the aliens themselves. Honestly, the movie is pretty much Poltergeist but it’s aliens instead of ghosts.
The poor family that garners the attention of the aliens that love fucking with people are the Barretts. They have two young sons that will fall into the easiest of stereotypes: a teenager that is mostly a good kid but has some bad influence friends and a younger kid that is precocious and also ready and willing to be creepy at a moment’s notice. Strange things start happening as this already struggling family tries to deal with strange messes in their house like finding all sorts of things stacked out of nowhere, inexplicable animal death, and their youngest son talking to an imaginary friend. Like I said, it’s pretty much Poltergeist but with aliens. Now, note that when I compare it to Poltergeist, it’s in the best ways.
The tension in the movie is definitely a slow ramp up that is done effectively. For at least a decent amount of time in the beginning you could definitely see it turning out to be a movie about one of the family being a sleepwalker or something like that and the aliens are just a red herring. While none of the characters are in and of themselves particularly compelling; the very fact that the family is nothing special makes the horror inflicted on them all the more sinister. It’s not that there is some curse on them or something. It’s just some Greys got a wild hair up their ass and decided that dicking with these people would be the best way to spend their time.
It’s a little silly that it takes the husband as long to come around to the idea that aliens are actually involved in what’s happening but then I suppose husbands in horror movies have to be the “rational explanation” people. We also get a great cameo from J.K. “Pictures of Spider-Man” Simmons himself as an alien abduction expert that manages to walk that fine line between being credible and crazy. His advice is kind of crap as it’s just “You should fight them so they don’t abduct your kid” but we’ve already established that alien tech is essentially just magic and they can teleport and fuck with your brain and whatnot. The final scene is ridiculous since the aliens decide that now is the time to start walking around in plain view and being all “close encounters” instead of just zapping the kid out when he’s asleep or something.
In all, I liked the movie but then it’s another example of “successful formula but replace standard threat with aliens”. If you like slow burn movies where families slowly disintegrate under supernatural pressure then this should be your cuppa. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Favorite thing in the movie: The cop that is confronted with an obvious case of someone entering the house and is like “Well, kids act out it’s probably one of them” no matter what evidence is given.
Least favorite thing: Stop with making the young kids deliver lines in that creepy monotone. Just. Just stop.