(Canada/UK - 2013)
THE SENDER, but things didn't exactly pan out for him as a filmmaker. Of course, your contributions to films like STAR WARS and ALIEN don't mean shit once you helm John Travolta's legendarily awful vanity project BATTLEFIELD EARTH. Now 69, Christian is reduced to STRANDED and it's such a sad sight that you're too busy feeling sorry for Christian to have any sympathy for Christian Slater, in yet another quick-buck gig on his way to becoming the new Michael Madsen. You can tell Roger Christian is an old-schooler in the jarring opening scenes, where he's not even attempting to hide that the space vessels and the mining colony on the moon are obvious miniatures. We're talking 1960s Antonio Margheriti miniatures, folks. But they aren't done in a kitschy or ironic way. No, STRANDED really is that cheap.
Slater is Gerard, the commander of a skeleton-crewed ore-mining ship that discovers some strange meteor spores on the moon. Scientist Ava (Amy Matysio) accidentally cuts herself while testing the spores and winds up with an accelerated pregnancy, giving birth to an alien/human hybrid a few hours later. Since there's only two other people on the ship, there's a lot of running around, shouting, and Gerard asserting his authority every few minutes by demanding that Ava be kept in quarantine before anything really horrific happens. Of course, the other crew members get infected and cause mayhem of their own, and by the time you get to admirably splattery airlock death that looks like it was achieved by a production assistant heaving a bucket of chunky Ragu at the door, you almost have to laugh. Not content to rip off ALIEN, the film also borrows imagery from the 1978 version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS with shades of EVENT HORIZON. Even by 2013 standards, it looks cheaper than things like GALAXY OF TERROR (1981) and FORBIDDEN WORLD (1982), and those had spray-painted McDonald's Styrofoam containers stapled to a wall to simulate the inside of a spacecraft. Where those films had low budgets but were entertaining or ambitious enough that they still found audiences with ALIEN fans, STRANDED, with its cut-rate sets, disinterested performances, lazy script, and video-burned credits (this actually played in a few theaters) has a hard time mustering the cred to be mentioned alongside STAR CRYSTAL (1986) and NIGHTFLYERS (1987).
(US - 2013)
Burquez: "He's a serial killer."
Jensen: "This wasn't his first."
Burquez: "And it won't be his last."
The footage comprising the bulk of the film has some people on a small charter bus to Vegas getting into an accident and being chased through the factory and offed one-by-one by a blowtorch-wielding psycho in a welding mask (maybe he's Robert Ginty's EXTERMINATOR 2 double?). Several red herrings are set up: a jilted boyfriend (THE CANYONS' Nolan Funk), a disgruntled Iraq War vet whose wife (Dale Dickey, the second-string Melissa Leo, cast radically against type as a rough-living woman who looks rode hard and put away wet) is on the bus, and even Reese, who gets his own tragic backstory clumsily shoehorned in and is played by a twitchy Moyer, but by the end, who cares? Also with Torrey DeVitto, Caitlin Stacey, and an overqualified Harry Lennix as the bus driver. Screenwriter John Swetnam expanded his 2011 short film, only here he's been replaced as director by Joe Carnahan protégé Olatunde Osunsanmi, who helmed 2009's Milla Jovovich faux-doc sci-fi scam THE FOURTH KIND. Terrible. (R, 94 mins)