REVIEW: KIDS VS. ALIENS

  • Director: Jason Eisner
  • Writer: John Davies, Jason Eisner
  • Stars: Dominic Mariche, Phoebe Rex, Calem MacDonald, Asher Grayson, Ben Tector, Isaiah Fortune

REVIEW

Jason Eisner makes the films that he wants to make. Hobo With A Shotgun was very entertaining because of the energy that Eisner injects into it, as ridiculous as the premise is. Kids Vs Aliens is similar in that you can feel the energy and enthusiasm coming through the screen.

Gary (Mariche) is a young kid that just loves making home made movies with his mates. His sister Samantha (Rex) also joins in, acting in these home movies. When the local hot bad boy, bully and all-round fuckwit Billy (MacDonald) starts showing an interest in Samantha, she eschews her brother’s home movie and the rest of the kids to appear cooler (peer pressure y’know). Billy convinces Samantha to hold a Halloween party at her house whilst her parents are out of town. The only problem is the aliens that are about to crash the party…

The film is a riff on Eisner’s own V/H/S 2 segment – Slumber Party Alien Abduction – only this time it’s not hand-held alien abduction chaos and obviously with a more fleshed out plot. The titular kids whilst not exactly well drawn characters all have that one through line – they are a tight bunch of friends and whatever they are doing is one in, all in. The local bully Billy is written as the biggest fucking asshole of all time and to be fair it’s a good performance from MacDonald because he is very easy to hate, given he is just a one note character. As Samantha, Rex gets the most to do and she does very well with it all, hitting the right tone and notes when required.

The film isn’t quite as gory as I would have expected but it does go a lot of places that films with kids as the main protagonists absolutely will not go, however it still features a bunch of melting, gory messes! The aliens look great with their simple but effective design and there is a great transformation scene which I won’t spoil. Eisner captures the chaos of it all, managing all the scenes assuredly whilst still maintaining that feeling that everything is out of control, and he rides that line so well and I think that this is where the energy he carries into his films comes into its own.

You could almost call this an anti-Amblin film, the setup is familiar to a Spielberg made (or produced) film. Film obsessed kids, discovering something or witnessing something and trying to save the day. Except in Eisner’s world, the parents are borderline negligent, and the kids aren’t loveable, clean cut, little scamps. Kids Vs Aliens is a fun (and short – only 76 minutes) ride with an ending that you could read as either a chance for a sequel or a very, very dark finale.

Kids Vs Aliens is available January 20 in Cinemas, On Demand and Digital.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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