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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Christian Slater, Brendan Fehr, Amy Matysio and Michael Therriault
Distributor: Signature Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 27 May 2013

Three men and a woman comprise the only crew on the ARK moon base. When the structure is hit by an unscheduled meteor shower, it causes a considerable amount of damage, as well as affecting the life support. However, they soon discover that is not the worst of their problems. The female crew member has ventured on to the moon surface to check the damage, and unwittingly brought a bacterial contagion into the complex. Spores on a rock fragment reproduce, and the woman undergoes a full pregnancy in a matter of hours. The creature spawned mutates and replicates a crew member. The woman and the copied crew member have seen it, but Colonel Brauchman and the doctor believe they are suffering hallucinations brought on by carbon monoxide poisoning, caused in the damage. The truth will have to be realised soon, because the creature is using the shafts to watch and study them and their weaknesses, and it’s intent on killing them all...

There aren’t nearly enough science fiction horror films any more, as all or most seem to be compared with Alien. Of course, Stranded does borrow heavily from that SF classic. There’s the claustrophobia, the use of ventilation shafts, the gestating alien and, most notably, the escape pod fiasco. There is also use of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers scenario, along with the body horror of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Even Predator gets a little wave, as does Event Horizon (a vastly underrated film). In fact, it’s very difficult for the genre to be original; it has taken on established acceptances and fears to deviate too much from that path.

I like Christian Slater as an actor - and we don’t get to see him as much as we should – but to be honest, he’s not given a great deal to work with here. So, we get an enjoyable enough film. Action I can do without, but character strength and plot tension are essential qualities which are just a little lacking here. I don’t want to come down on Stranded too much, as it’s very obviously a low budget outing; it’s just that to make itself known it needs to incorporate something radically different. I appreciate convincing hard science fiction, but only if it has something new to say.

Roger Christian directed Battlefield Earth. I don’t think that’s something to brag about. The novel is one of my favourite books of all time, and an international bestseller. The movie, however... Well, let me simply say it takes awful to a new level. So Stranded is definitely a step in the right direction.


Ty Power

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