Monday, 9 May 2016

Stranded (2013)

Hey, remember when Christian Slater looked poised to be the next big thing, back in the early 90s?  Legal troubles put an end to that and he's had a pretty uneven run since then, though things seem to be looking up with Mr Robot.  One of the less upward-looking entries on his resume, on the other hand, is this little number.

It's not that Slater - or indeed any of the cast - is bad in this.  All the performances are solid.  Technically speaking the movie's generally okay too. Some of the model-work is a bit weak but the sets are pretty well put together.  Clearly heavily "inspired" by Alien, but competent work.

A small moonbase is battered by an unexpected meteor storm.  The four crew survive, but the base is badly damaged.  Main power is out, one of the escape pods is destroyed, and carbon monoxide is seeping into the atmosphere: this will eventually be fatal, though it will start causing hallucinations and irrational behaviour well before that.

Oh, and just in case all that wasn't enough to keep them occupied, there are also strange spores on the meteors: spores they promptly bring inside the base to study.  Well, I guess the irrational behaviour got started early!

Anyway, in the space of a few hours the sole female crew-member suddenly appears to be six months pregnant.  The base commander (Slater) actually does the sensible thing and orders her confined, but it does no good.  Something is born from her while she is alone, and then escapes into the air vents.  It's always the air vents, isn't it?

So yeah, as mentioned the Alien is strong with this one.  As long as you don't mind the oh so obvious echoes of that far superior film, or the elements it steals from John Carpenter's version of The Thing, then it actually does a reasonably good job of building up tension at times.  Not too bad an effort when you consider how visually underwhelming its monster is.

The last act, though ... oh dear.  I can't find anything to suggest this was originally intended as the pilot for a TV series, but it definitely feels like one.  About the only way it could come across as more of a "To Be Continued" would be if they'd actually printed those words on the screen.

If you are at all a fan of SF/horror than you've seen this film done better in the past, and you've certainly seen it ended better.  Go watch one of those movies instead of this faded copy.

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