Philadelphia Film Festival Review – Kids vs. Aliens

Philadelphia Film Festival Review – Kids vs. Aliens

We need more “aliens attack” movies. While I love a good extraterrestrial movie that explores the larger considerations of what it would mean for visitors from another world to make themselves known, it’s been a long time since we had a solid alien flick that boils it down to the basics: aliens are here, they are not nice, RUN.

Kids vs. Aliens puts this wait to an end by delivering a stripped down, straightforward film that makes good on the promise of its title: Kids are having a party, aliens show up, and now it’s ON.

Directed by Jason Eisener and written by Eisener and John Davies, Kids vs. Aliens is an unofficial expansion upon Slumber Party Alien Abduction, their kickass segment in the excellent anthology V/H/S/2. The feature film departs from the found footage format, but frames its scares in remarkably similar ways (it helps that one of our lead kids is a techie who films a lot of his hijinks). By abandoning the FF style and expanding upon the story, KvA is able to flesh out its roster of characters, creating a group of kids that rivals those of The Monster Squad or The Goonies. One of the kids, Jack, played with Ned Beatty-an gusto by Asher Grayson, is an all-timer. You won’t believe him until you see him.

At just 75 minutes, there is no room for anything but the goods. The aliens have arrived by the 20 minute mark, and from there it is non-stop calamity. But somehow, even as we race to the finish line, Eisener and company manage to craft a compelling story to fuel the plot. Sure, we are all here for goopy, high-paced carnage, but a charming story of friendship emerges quickly and readily, supported by uncommonly strong performances. Our leading young lady, played with depth and verisimilitude by Phoebe Rex, gives the film a strong emotional center, even as she’s fighting off aliens with a giant sword.

Foul-mouthed, excessively silly, all while maintaining high suspense and a decent amount of legitimately frightening material, Kids vs. Aliens is a genre throwback that has every ingredient required to become a midnight classic.

Stay through the credits.

Directed by Jason Eisener

Written by Jason Eisener, John Davies

Starring Dominic Mariche, Phoebe Rex, Calem MacDonald, Asher Grayson

Not Rated, 75 minutes

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