Twitter Plot Summary: After a meteor storm damages Moon Base Ark, an alien creature finds its way aboard and starts being a little bit menacing.
Five Point Summary:
1. Meteor attack – everybody duck!
2. Alien pregnancy! Whoop!
3. I’m using exclamation marks to make it seem like something interesting is happening!
4. Now there was no need to do that to himself.
It is some point in the near/distant future (depending on when you read this) and humanity has managed to establish a base on the Moon. Sadly for the four crew stationed there, a freak meteor storm causes untold damage to the station and brings with it an alien parasite that infects the crew. Christian Slater is the mission leader trying (and failing) to control the situation, and before you know it the sole female member of the crew is pregnant and an alien spawn shortly follows. The thing is, everything could easily just be the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the impact, but the end of the film almost proves point-blank that it’s actually an alien. Unless it’s all in Christian Slater’s poisoned mind – that would make for a far better film, thinking about it.
There’s an obvious question here: if all of the crew were male, would we have a movie? Would the alien have impregnated one of the men or would it have realised it was too much effort and continued on its way? Perhaps I’m overthinking this a little too much, but there was a lot of promise in the opening moments that soon give way to repetitive shouting and looping arguments – we get it, it’s a low budget sci-fi film, seeing the four person crew bickering constantly gets tiresome very quickly, like watching your family argue whilst trapped together on a holiday.
Whilst the production values are relatively good, Stranded still has a very low budget air to it, using an isolated location and restricting the special effects budget to the point of almost being worthless. The pacing too is all over the place, efforts to instil dramatic moments with some kinetic camerawork are wasted. You’d think with an alien on the loose there’d be a little more urgency to their movements, but nope, they keep going back to the carbon monoxide idea. At least entertain the notion, guys! Nor does the strange, rapid alien pregnancy really cause much concern – except for the woman of course, I’m sure she wasn’t too happy about that turn of events. By that point I’d have been making a beeline for the escape pods, something was clearly up given that she wasn’t pregnant five minutes ago. And therein lies the problem with Stranded – it’s a muddled mess, not sure what it wants to be – there was potential for it to become a low budget Event Horizon, but it falls short. Way short.
The characters, too, are cardboard cutouts, their dialogue trite and mostly dull, interspersed with bouts of angry acting. It’s another of those stories where the characters are defined by their jobs and/or genders – the captain, the doctor, the engineer, the woman. A little work here in defining them would have made all the difference. As it happens, characters get bumped off (not a spoiler – watch the trailer) and you don’t actually care. This is one of those rare occasions I was raring for the alien clone thing over the humans – unlike them he had a bit of personality.