FIGHTING THE SKY (2018)
Directed by Conrad Faraj
A serious of unexplained noises across the globe begin to arouse suspicion that aliens have landed on planet Earth. A bunch of friends interested in extraterrestrials decide to reform their research group to try and get to the bottom of these weird events and find the source of the sounds, but have they bitten off more than they can chew?
Low budget, indie sci-fi FIGHTING THE SKY presents itself as a part-detective, part-survival alien movie with its bunch of young researchers armed with brightly-coloured headphones, microphones, custom-built apps and drones to try and get to the truth behind a series of unexplained events that have plagued the nation. Unfortunately, it’s a bit far-fetched to believe that these students, led by self-proclaimed ufologist Lorraine, with their relative low tech equipment and cheesy enthusiasm, can somehow find answers to their extraterrestrial theories by simply walking around a field with what looks like a mixing bowl with a handle attached. Apart from catching some unusual audio, they do very little to end up in the position they find themselves in and even prior research, such as talking to people who’ve experienced alien activity, only further makes them out to be not much more than a bunch of young adults playing alienbusters. It isn’t helped when our bunch of protagonists end up being lumbered with a bunch of school kids, one of whom happens to have bumped into Lorraine previously, and thus it all ends up as a bit of a corny, kid-led survival episode you’d expect to find in a poor imitation of The Goonies.
The film itself is plagued with a few problems with the narrative and dialogue being the major issues in the pacing of the movie. The storyline itself just simply isn’t that interesting and feels as though it’s fumbling around trying to pass the time to make up for the lack of a gripping plot. This is made worse by the predominantly amateurish performances seen throughout the film. There are a few performances that rise above, such as that of Angela Cole as Lorraine, Roger Conners as Roy, and Jinette and Judith Faraj as sisters Valerie and Rosie Paz, but sometimes their performances feel melodramatic purely because of the poor performances of others in their scenes. However, the film does redeem itself in some surprising ways. For one, it’s shot quite well, better than many low budget indie movies I’ve seen which instantly makes it easier to digest. Another was the design of the extraterrestrial star of the piece: the aliens. On low budget films, you expect the monster scenes to be cobbled together due to lack of real money and expertise to produce a realistic creature. This is certainly not the case in FIGHTING THE SKY as the alien incorporates lizard-like features for a truly impressive sci-fi visage. Though I do feel the aliens were underused somewhat, the design of them made me enjoy their minor appearances throughout the latter half of the movie.
FIGHTING THE SKY is an odd creature in that it seems to better manage grand scenes than it can minor, intimate ones. Shots of the researchers driving through the streets as aliens are attacking, with pedestrians screaming and running for their lives, are presented brilliantly but scenes of some kids talking in an attic are painful to watch. Unfortunately, there’s more small, character-driven scenes than there are big set pieces so this really exposes the film and puts it on the course for an uphill battle.
With few proper ideas to flesh out the feature film during its running time, FIGHTING THE SKY feels stretched thin but thankfully, due to the points made above, there’s a glimmer of quality to help viewers push through.