Directed by Michael Shumway
Whilst away on a business trip in Denver, David is horrified to learn of aeroplanes falling out of the sky with as many as 10 and counting in just a few hours. With the news speculating over what could be the cause, be it terrorist or otherwise, he cuts short his business trip and decides to head home to his wife Amy. On the road trip home, David discovers first-hand exactly what is going on as the world that he knew falls around him.
Sci-fi action drama ALIENATE deals with a world under threat from an incredibly hostile alien species. Nobody is safe from the leather-clad, LED-emitting creatures and it seems the aliens have a cunning plan to make most of the world’s population compliant during their invasion.
At the beginning of the movie, the film features a few sets of survivors who are hiding out before deciding to focus on businessman David Madison. With footage constantly flicking from present to the past to give the viewer a better idea on who David is and his backstory, we learn that the title of the film isn’t merely a reference to the species invading but to the relationship between him and his wife and the feeling of alienation of other survivors in the movie. It seems that not everyone’s life is sweetness and roses and David’s is no exception. Working constantly, he’s drifting further apart from his pianist wife Amy and his business trip to Denver is almost the final nail in the coffin of their relationship. When this global threat emerges and mortality is really tested, David feels a duty to return to his wife and find her despite everyone around him telling him that she’s most likely dead. The flashbacks don’t really do much to support David’s decision and I can’t help feeling he’s doing it out of guilt rather than love but I suppose at the end of the day, the dying wish of all the characters is not to die alone.
I must admit I was disappointed with the amount of alien activity in the film and hoped for a bit more action and less human relationship angle but what we have still works as part of the survival narrative. Whilst the threat of the aliens is very real, with David and co. running for their lives, there’s only really one up-close and personal scene in a house that gives a sense of the threat towards humans. I feel that more scenes like this would have been beneficial to balance out the story. In regards to the overall plot too, a few of the minor characters feel wasted and seem to be just added to the film to give an extra dimension, to set-up an angle or to just be interaction for the main characters of David and Amy. Whilst I know this is their story, giving other survivors proper meat to their characters would add so much more to the movie.
With some brilliant visual work, especially a scene of a helicopter crashing by the side of the road, director Michael Shumway gives an interesting insight into how a catastrophy like this could affect people’s lives and relationships. ALIENATE has a lot of heart, which is great to watch, but lacks that much-needed heavier dose of sci-fi.