Mid-Week Review: Extermination

This would have made a real interesting pilot, had it been a Syfy original series. It has all the hallmarks of a high concept science fiction series which spent its limited budget on a stronger cast in favour of better visual effects. But as the main character’s voiceover confirmed the heavy handed themes of the movie, I realised I was probably better off.


Extinction is a science fiction movie made by and distributed on Netflix. Starring Michael Peña and Lizzy Caplan as a troubled couple who find themselves trying to survive a sudden alien invasion. A good portion of the movie feels like well worn ground. Peña is a loving, but troubled husband who continuously lets his family down. In this instance because of constant nightmares cause him debilitating lack of sleep.

The early parts of the movie feel very boiler plate, a set up seen so many times before in movies of varying quality. 2005’s War of the Worlds, Skyline and 2012. He dreams about people being gunned down by otherworldly entities, dreams that inevitably become a reality. Brushing any problems his family had with him under the rug as it turns out he was right all along.

After a party where he is getting chewed out by friends and family, flying ships appear in the night sky and systematically start killing everyone they can find. The family escape with one of the invaders hot on their trail. It’s obvious right away that things aren’t as they seem. One invader, who is wearing a suit that looks like a cross between a fungus and a blister, is reluctant to do any harm to the younger daughter.

The movie’s foreshadowing it strained at best. So when it turns out that the “alien invaders” were human all along, I was past the point of even patting myself on the back for predicting it.

The main twist happens two thirds through the movie. It’s revealed that the invaders are humanity and the people we have been following are synthetics; androids who rose up and forced their creators to flee earth 50 years prior. They just didn’t remember it.

While the movie is full of twists and turns, it never felt like a thrill ride. It was almost every aspect of the movie was built outward from the revelation, consequently some of the leaps of logic seem a little too far.

The robots elected to erase their own memories of their nature, despite the fact that Mike Colter claims many of them elect to keep their memories. Doing this because they knew humanity would eventually return to retake Earth, they were so sure that they had elaborate escape plans and hidden underground bases prepared for it.

 

If that’s the case, then having the majority of the population in a state of complete unreadiness seems like an especially dumb plan, for the sake of some hurt feelings. While decently acted, the movie really formulaic, and not especially memorable.

Give it a miss.

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