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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Ejecta  (2015)

Reviewed for by Dustin Putman

The Film
0.5 Stars
(Release Date: August 18, 2015) – For a veteran character actor who is forever playing small parts as villains and weirdoes, it is a nice change to see Julian Richings (2013's "The Colony") receive a rare leading role that puts him front and center for most of the picture. Sadly, it is in service of a project that doesn't deserve him. A flat-footed alien-invasion thriller directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele, "Ejecta" is harmed by its storytelling structure and ruined by its overbearing aesthetics. Not pausing long enough to properly connect with any of the haphazardly undernourished characters on the screen, the film instantly throws the viewer into a sloppy, two-tier narrative and hopes that something sticks. None of it does. At least, not positively.

In a heavily guarded facility, the no-nonsense Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle) has strapped the harried William Cassidy (Julian Richings) to a chair for a desperate interrogation. He has been shot in the chest, but appears to be physically doing fine. Gradually, the eventful last twelve hours are unspooled via found-footage from a documentary that filmmaker-astronomer Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold) had been making about extraterrestrial activity. Cassidy claims that he was visited thirty-nine years ago by something not of this planet, and now, on the night of a coronal mass ejection, a UFO has crashed in a nearby lake with plans of a possible takeover on the aliens' minds.

There is a single startling moment in "Ejecta," a jump-scare reveal of a creature standing in a darkened doorway. The rest of the film is pulseless. The scenes set in the top-secret facility bumble along without a point of view, punctuated by over-the-top performances and an incoherent script by Tony Burgess (2010's "Pontypool"). Meanwhile, the faux-documentary and night-vision segments, sometimes seen via camera feeds that Dr. Tobin is watching and sometimes not, are obnoxiously over-processed in post-production. Artificially orchestrated camera flickers and flashes, freeze-frames, and static interference rear their ugly heads so often that it pulls the viewer out of the movie every time. Directors Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele display no understanding of character, nuance, or emotional depth, even going so far as to introduce telekinesis and a body snatchers conspiracy in the home stretch. "Ejecta" is a wearisome, empty-headed mess, barely feeling as if it is a completed film at all. When it is over, its memory—just like an otherworldly probe—all but entirely vanishes in an instant.

Read Dustin's Theatrical Review

Blu-ray Picture/Sound

I originally saw "Ejecta" via a streaming, standard-definition screener link for reviewing press, and watching the film again on Blu-ray really showcases just what a huge difference the 1080p format makes. The film continues to fall victim to the overbearingly artificial post-production tinkering of its found-footage segments, but, this inherent-to-source observation notwithstanding, the high-def transfer of Scream Factory's Blu-ray release is startlingly well-defined. Shots that were murky, macroblocking smudges in 480p are now sometimes eerily haunting, as in a scene that captures the appearance of a UFO in the starry night sky and its subsequent crash-landing on Earth. There are hints of banding here and there and some shots are softer than others (as with the frequent green-hued night-vision scenes), but the detail, clarity and black levels are of very high caliber. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is surprisingly active, bursting forth from all directions as the action and music rev up. If there is one minor criticism to be had, it is that the dialogue could afford to be more prominent in the mix; there are times when voices are slightly overshadowed by the booming score. Still, this is a very strong audio track, and one that should not disappoint viewers.

Blu-ray Features
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:54, HD)
Bottom Line
Cody Calahan and Devin Lund's moody cinematography in alien-invasion thriller "Ejecta" comes through loud and clear on Scream Factory's Blu-ray. Unfortunately, the film isn't very good—okay, it's an outright mess, undermining its would-be effectiveness every step of the way with a script and structure that fall spectacularly flat. If you have already seen the picture and are a fan, then by all means this high-def treatment is the preferable version. For everyone else, there are plenty of much better and more worthwhile horror titles to seek out about the existence of intelligent life beyond the stars.

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© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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