It doesn’t matter how much Samantha loves her little brother Gary, dutifully playing her part in the films he makes with friends Miles and Jack in the wrestling ring set up in their barn, it hurts when she is mocked by the “cool kids” for hanging around with them and more so when her parents hold her responsible for his broken arm, punishing her for not supervising him closely enough when they barely even stop by the hospital between business trips.
Sam grounded for Hallowe’en, gentleman caller Billy makes an alternative suggestion, saying with her parents out of town the party can come to her; agreeing on the strict terms it will be a quiet affair, Billy’s charm is a cover for his intention to unleashes a riot where he and his friends don’t have to clean up afterwards, but in the chaos there are uninvited gatecrashers who have come a long way who have other plans.
Directed by Hobo with a Shotgun‘s Jason Eisener who shares script credit with the writer of that film, John Davies, Kids vs Aliens is a radical expansion of the proof-of-concept short Alien Abduction Slumber Party from V/H/S/2, an explosion of bad behaviour, extra-terrestrial interventions, external digestive systems and swords of mystical power hidden in undersea catacombs.
The cast led by Phoebe Rex, Dominic Mariche, Ben Tector and Asher Grayson as costumed, armoured and armed Samantha, Gary, Miles and Jack, they are already engaged in undeclared war with bullying Billy, Dallas and Trish (Calem MacDonald, Isaiah Fortune and Emma Vickers) before the long dark and noisy night is broken by a bright light descending from the sky which cuts the power and ends the party.
Playing like a children’s movie other than the copious swearing and bodily violations created from fully practical effects, the aliens seeming to have little plan for first contact other than herding the terrified youngsters into their ship and processing them, Kids vs Aliens is not a movie for intellectual examination so much as romp to be enjoyed in the moment, Eisener never losing sight of what he loves, as indicated by Gary’s own camcorder masterworks.
A few oddities aside – the eyeblink transition from day to night and Gary’s arm miraculously healing so he is able to climb ladders – more frustrating is the dialogue, frequently mumbled and often unintelligible, though fortunately as a film of action rather than conversation Kids vs Aliens unfolds swiftly and concludes surprisingly early, just as it seems about to set off in a new and previously unanticipated direction.
Kids vs Aliens will be available on Shudder from Friday 14th April