Here’s a fun and at times subdued little film. EJECTA is a sci-fi/horror flick about human beings encountering extraterrestrial life. But this is different from the countless other films made with this premise. This is definitely on the lower end of the scale as far as budgets go, and this is not–I repeat, not–a found footage movie. EJECTA takes this familiar premise of earth’s contact with aliens and really puts a new spin and attitude on it. Add to this some great performances and a great final act, and you’ve got yourself a damn enjoyable movie.
EJECTA approaches the plot from two different perspectives. One storyline, which took part the previous night, details how a reclusive conspiracy researcher, William (Julian Richings), along with a documentary filmmaker, Joe (Adam Seybold)–who is interviewing him–discover the presence of alien life. The other storyline, which takes place in the present, has William being interrogated and tortured by a super-secret military organization. The organization is run by Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle). The two storylines are intercut to give both sides of the story, and it isn’t until the fantastic final act that the two storylines intersect and pave the way to a great ending.
The scenes of William and Joe mainly involve them searching around in the dark looking for a piece of a spacecraft that was ejected from a larger craft. There are moments when we get found footage scenes, but those moments never dominate the film. The majority of the film, though, involves William strapped to a chair being tortured by Dr. Tobin. Tobin will stop at nothing to get to the truth of what William experienced the previous night, and until she recovers the craft and/or the aliens that piloted said craft. The first thing that really grabbed me about this film was the minimalist approach. This isn’t a bare-bones production, but we also don’t get any secret government labs filled with tons of expensive, futuristic looking equipment. It is just William strapped to a chair. Dr. Tobin, though, does have some unique devices that she uses to forcefully extract the info from William, who isn’t volunteering up the information. Even the devices she uses on him, which sound like they have some futuristic, next-gen functions, look brutal and almost steampunk-ish.
Directors Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele weren’t after a flashy sci-fi flick with cool spaceships and even cooler aliens. EJECTA is a one hundred percent character-driven film, and all the actors involved knock this one out of the park. The performances are so good here that even if there was no alien shown at all (don’t worry, there is), I wouldn’t have been disappointed because the acting was so on point. Lisa Houle, who plays Dr. Tobin, is fantastic in her role. At one point she seems friendly and willing to help you, and then the next she is strapping a device to William’s head to forcefully extract his memories. She’s focused on the task at hand and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Dr. Tobin is a bitch, but she is a complicated bitch.
Actor Julian Richings, who plays William, is also terrific. He is a man hiding a huge secret and I bought his performance hook, line, and sinker. Although, as I mention above, that most of the action takes place inside the military lab, we get a few scenes of soldiers hunting down the alien, and William and Joe doing the same. These scenes add just the right amount of atmosphere to break up the scenes in the lab. When I saw who wrote the film, I then realized why I enjoyed it so much. Writer Tony Burgess is no stranger to more headier horror films. He wrote the 2008 film, PONTYPOOL–which is based off his novel. I’ve liked all of Burgess’ projects and wasn’t surprised at all to see that he wrote EJECTA as well.
Some may not like the pacing of EJECTA, but I found it to be perfect for what the directors were trying to accomplish. We get terrific character development, and William is like a huge onion. Layer after layer of his character gets peeled away to reveal more and more of who he really is. We also get a great minimalist soundtrack that greatly contributed to the final film. If you’re looking for a more cerebral, character driven sci-fi flick, then look no further than EJECTA. Highly recommended.
Directors: Chad Archibald & Matt Wiele
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Gore: 3 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer