This movie was very interesting. I went in expecting a psychological mystery movie, and about halfway through it changes completely into an alien invasion survival film. The 2018 Netflix Original movie, directed by Ben Young, is in the same vein as the Cloverfield mystery box franchise. In fact while I was watching it I thought about how this movie should have been Cloverfield 3 instead of that awful Paradox we got. Extinction was better as well unique and imaginative. However it wasn’t a well plotted movie.
Mystery box movies, or what I like to call “what the fuck is going on” machines, can either be great or terrible. The ideas are usually really cool or different, but without a good plot they can end up failing. When a film only relies on the “what the fuck is going on” moment, people don’t like it. Ask M. Night Shyamalan. Extinction falls into that category for me. The overall idea is really cool. The writer Stephen Cohen had a great science fiction idea that I didn’t see coming at all. But he also is credited as the screenplay writer, and I wish he would have given the job to someone more capable for the job. This movie is filled with pointless scenes that really do not serve any purpose. For example there is a moment where the family is on the roof, they decide to use a suspended scaffold system to get to the ground level. The parents argue about using it, then they use it, then 3 floors down it breaks and the movie throws all this suspense and tension into them getting back into the building…. why would you waste 10 minutes of the film on that. There was plenty of suspense by the fucking alien invasion, who thought his scene was needed? Moments like these are throughout the movie and they made me almost stop watching. However the main character’s moments, where you couldn’t trust his memories, kept me engaged.
Like I said, the overall idea is really cool. I don’t want to spoil anything plot wise for you. So I will only go off what was shown in the trailer. Micheal Peña plays a factory worker that is tired of the same day happening over and over in his boring life. At night he has these nightmares about an alien invasion. His wife, Lizzy Caplan, two daughters, Erica Tremblay and Amelia Crouch, and his best friend, Mike Colter, are all worried about him. He goes to see a specialist but panics because some really weird stuff is going on, like the painting in the office is moving, or another patient is having a similar issue. Then the alien invasion that he is dreaming about happens, and Micheal thinks he can see the future. Or maybe he’s crazy and the invasion is all in his head. I honestly thought that was what this movie was going to be about. A plot where the main character is in some made up world or his memorizes weren’t his own. I began imagining the aliens might have some sort of mind warping weapons. I got excited thinking maybe the alien invasion isn’t actually real and I’m watching a movie about a man slipping into madness. At the end of the day though, the real story turns out so much more different than what I could imagine. Afterward finishing, I told someone about the movie, only going over the base synopsis, and they were really interested. But I didn’t tell them about the scenes like 4 minutes of Peña staring at a telescope instead of taking his daughters out for dinner.
Overall I think the movie is definitely watchable. The costume design for the aliens was weird and had a Bioshock vibe. The acting was decent, especially by the two daughters who were the only reason I rooted for the family to survive. And the “what the fuck is going on” factor does keep you engaged. But ultimately you can take the best parts of this movie and put them in something better. The worst part is that the movie seems incomplete, both by not showing enough and by setting up the sequel at the end. After the Snappening though, this movie didn’t survive and I wont be excited for a sequel to a movie with will be erased from ‘My List’
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith