Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Kids vs. Aliens (2023)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Kids vs. Aliens (2023)
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Length: 1h 15min
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Yer Dead, Shut Up & Colour Pictures, Bloody Disgusting, Cinepocalypse Productions, Studio71, RLJE Films, Shudder
Director: Jason Eisener
Writer: Jason Eisener, John Davies
Actors: Dominic Mariche, Phoebe Rex, Calem MacDonald, Asher Grayson, Ben Tactor, Emma Vickers, Isaiah Fortune, Jonathan Torrens
Blurb from IMDb: An all-time rager of a teen house party turns to terror when aliens attack, forcing two warring siblings to band together to survive the night.

Selina’s Point of View:
Kids vs. Aliens was almost everything I was hoping for. It was weird, gritty, and still somewhat endearing.
I’ll be the first to admit that it wouldn’t be for everyone. You need to have a love for these kinds of films. I, personally, have that love. I grew up with it. Most 80s kids did. For us, this kind of flick is almost nostalgic. Kids vs. Aliens lives up to what those older science fictions, and creature features, made me feel.
The campy acting and familiar teen stereotypes made me smile – right up until some ballsy choices were made. Most flicks would have gone in much more predictable directions. Taking that hard left with certain characters felt new. You have to respect that.

I was hoping for a bit more comedy – but that’s on me. It’s not marketed as any kind of comedy. That’s just my personal preference. I do also think that it would have been better if the aliens had been more of a surprise. If they weren’t in the title or the marketing, there could have been a bit more mystery around what was going on. You don’t actually get aliens until the middle of the film (except for a short scene in the beginning with unrelated characters). The movie was taken more seriously than played for laughs, so I think that hold-back would have upped the tension ten-fold.
The climax was still pretty badass.
I think Kids vs. Aliens is worth streaming. It will be available through Shudder on April 14.

Cat’s Point of View:
The premise of Kids vs. Aliens seemed to promise a ludicrous romp through alien invasion horror. I expected it to fall into the ‘so bad it’s good’ category.
The story painted a picture of protagonists you wanted to root for, and set up a foundation for events well before the aliens even entered the picture. It felt like the old-school “kids on bikes” sort of throwback adventures… but put into a blender with graphic horror content. Don’t forget the aliens. (I know I won’t.)
Let’s talk a little bit about the effects used in Kids vs. Aliens. Sure, the production had a bit of a low-budget feel, but I think they did a great job. The aliens were really creepy and clearly managed with practical effects. The setting was great to facilitate the story. Even the kids’ movie props were believable and fit what I would expect from the sort of scenario depicted in the movie. There was really only one creature on the alien team involved with the film that took me out of things a bit and had me saying “really??” out loud as I was watching. It generally worked anyway and didn’t entirely disrupt my enjoyment of the movie as a whole.
When we watched the trailer, we had discussed the trivia tidbit that Kids vs. Aliens was an expanded adaptation from the short segment “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” from V/H/S/2 (2013). The writing partnership of John Davies (Hobo with a Shotgun, V/H/S/2, The Luckiest Most Unlucky Man in the World) and Jason Eisner (Treevenge, The ABCs of Death: Y is for Youngbuck, Dark Side of the Ring), with Eisner at the directing helm, was also responsible for the short this film was based on.

I’m glad they re-visited that story. I didn’t really like any of the characters in the short. There wasn’t anyone to root for – except the poor dog. It’s no wonder the pooch got top billing for the segment. With Kids vs. Aliens, we got to see a reimagining of the story with a bit more character development and a peek into a more of the alien shenanigans. There’s even a bit of a twist that I should have seen coming and surprised me all the same. It wasn’t even given away by the trailers (and the scenes in the trailers gave away quite a bit).
The post-credits scene had me cheering.
I see that it’s getting a lot of divisive reviews due to the “coarse language”, and I think critics really just need to suck it up and realize that a film doesn’t have to watch its Ps and Qs to be fun. I think they should have taken a note from the tagline on the poster that says “F*ck Space” and watched with that understanding.
Was Kids vs. Aliens ground-breaking cinema expecting awards and accolades? No, not hardly. It was, however, a fun experience and I wouldn’t say no to watching it again with my 19-year-old once it releases.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 56%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 69%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score –6.0/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 4/5
P.S. After-credits scene.
Movie Trailer:

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