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Review: Ejecta Fosters Promise, but Falls Short

Official poster for the 2014 film, Ejecta.

Ejecta, the latest extraterrestrial horror film from directorial duo Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele, sets the stage for an interstellar amount of terror, yet unfortunately falls short of delivering any too unsettling.  Still, an unique concoction of aggressive greys paired with the haunting performance of Julian Richings saves this film from becoming terribly dull.   Additionally, the catalyst of a mysterious, internal alien threat keeps the action mildly compelling, going so far as to harken back to sci-fi classics such as John Carpenter’s The Thing (read a comparison of both versions of the classic here).  Alas, the focus of Ejecta borders sporadic, and the mixture of found footage with a tale of imprisonment seem jarringly contrary.

William Cassidy (Richings) leads and anxiety-riddled and sleepless life as a vlogger documenting his supposed interactions with and theories on impending invaders.  Joe Sullivan, a documentary filmmaker and avid fan of Cassidy’s, convinces the reluctant hermit to share his wealth of knowledge on the night of a massive solar flare, an event that the he assumes will trigger an unyielding cataclysm.  The happening does instigate something, as Cassidy and Sullivan are raided by both an armed agency and slender, cosmic creatures alike.

William Cassidy Resists Electric Torture

The majority of the film takes place within an undisclosed facility, where Cassidy is interrogated and tormented by an obsessed scientist, Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle).  The doctor implements a discourse as dauntless as it is demented, allowing for screenwriter Tony Burgess to really shine through.  The seemingly one-sided struggle is further convoluted as  Cassidy’s timid persona is gradually warped by an unseen force, compelling him to reciprocate threats via a voice that grows increasingly less human.  The interaction between these two figures spans the majority of the film, aiding early on to frame the story’s bulk before eventually carrying it towards a conclusion.  Fortunately, this set of conversations is also Ejecta’s most fascinating bit, dulling the pain of rather lackluster action sequences.

That being said, the aforementioned sequences do command a sizable presence.  Portrayed as found footage, the raid bounds between the camcorder of Sullivan and the head-cams of Tobin’s lackeys.  A myriad of grunts and loud expletives murks the latter perspective, and Sullivan’s vocal fear borders overbearing within a matter of minutes.  Likewise, gunfire and yelling only halts momentarily, and by the time it does, it seems to effectively gouge any tension that may have been built.  Despite this, there are a few scares that do reel one back in, just not for particularly long.

Dr.Tobin attempts to end it all after a dark epiphany.The effects of Ejecta, while apparently limited, rarely hinder the film to any detrimental extent.  Again, the found footage sections of the piece feature the physical embodiment of the invaders, but only in very brief glimpses, allowing for the retention of an uncompromising mystique.  A particular scene shines with excellence, however, ironically taking place in the facility of what to that point has lacked any substantial, digital flair.  Cassidy is subject to a massive, electric cannon, playfully cited by Tobin to kill most within a few seconds.  Cassidy survives the ordeal, but an amalgam of light and inhuman noises paired with the cries of very mortal suffering begets his withered breath, serving as an adequate thesis for the film.

Likewise, settings are dark and veiled, especially the seemingly endless forest Cassidy resides within.  Again, this reaffirms an air of mystery, but in a short amount of time grows painfully dull, doing less to accommodate a viewer and more to lull them.  This wouldn’t be terrible if, as mentioned before, tension wasn’t hindered by conversational mishaps.

Ultimately, the film carries a few redeeming qualities, especially between Tobin and Cassidy, but eventually falls short of anything powerful.  “We are,” after all, “never alone.”  Unfortunately, Ejecta makes one wish we kind of were.

WICKED RATING: [usr 4]

Director(s): Chad Archibald, Matt Wiele
Writer(s): Tony Burgess
Stars: Julian Richings, Lisa Houle, Adam Seybold
Release: February 28th, 2015
Studio/ Production Co:  Foresight Features
Language: English
Length: 87 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Sci-fi

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