Stranded (2013)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Stranded</strong> (2013)

(On Cable TV, September 2014)  Oy…  Repeat after me: low-budget Canadian science-fiction movies are rarely good.  Having been burned a few times already, I really should know better by now.  Still, there’s a lower threshold of quality that one expects, and it’s fascinating to see Stranded struggle to even meet that basic level.  The first five minutes are almost promising, as a small crew on a lunar mining base is threatened by a catastrophic meteoroid impact.  Is this a survival story?  Alas, no: Within moments, the lone female character discovers something alien, is impregnated, gives birth to a shape-shifting monster that decides to look like another character and then go on to kill enthusiastically.  Dull stuff, rapidly crashing at the bottom of the list of Alien rip-offs.  Stranded is so bad that I’m actually offended at the impregnation subplot, which throws a charged plot development in the middle of a movie that doesn’t earn or deserve such emotional heavy-lifting.  Beyond the dull characters and repetitive scripting, much of the rest of the movie is just too dull to care about: badly-lit, limply propelled forward, saddled with an Earth-bound epilogue that weakens the result rather than strengthen it, Stranded is just yet another Canadian SF film filmed in a dim warehouse (in no less a film powerhouse than Regina, Saskatchewan) featuring a handful of characters and a monster.  With this, director Roger Christian has actually made a film worse than his own Battlefield Earth, which is praise of an impressive sort.  Poor Christian Slater looks a bit confused here: sure, he’s getting paid, but is it all worth it?  I was sort-of-impressed to see obvious models being used for moon-base shots rather than CGI: Nowadays, it’s the kind of artistic decision that shows a commitment to lack of quality, and speaks for the rest of the film.

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