‘Stranded’ Movie Review – Rip-off
Space is chalk-full of possibilities. Since it is “the great unknown,” it has seemingly endless possibilities. Hollywood loves this, and space/alien movies have been around for generations. Stranded, a movie by Roger Christian (Battlefield Earth), uses this setting more as a gimmick than anything else. He uses the setting alongside the genre (horror) to mask what we’re really seeing. What we’re really seeing is a cliché-ridden horror movie with all the characters making dumb decision after dumb decision to result in predictable moments. The problems don’t stop there either.
Here’s the rundown on the plot: four isolated astronauts exploring somewhere (that’s how good the story is) get hit by a surprise meteor storm. Now abandoned (or stranded…get it?), they are forced to repair their ship before they can keep going. Due to lack of oxygen, the abundance of CO2, and straight up paranoia, the four crew members start to experience some really weird things.
It seems like the plot out of a B movie because, well, it is. Think of it as a bad rip-off of this year’s Europa Report and 1979’s Alien. Stranded doesn’t seem to have anything to say about anything. Aliens, paranoia, human nature? None of it is explored. Instead, it’s really a bunch of people running around being chased by an alien surrogate that is supposed to either a) fool the audience or b) scare the audience. Neither happens.
If they are going for human nature, they’re making a very bold stance: we are stupid. Taking away all the things that go against science-fiction (I realize how dumb that statement sounds), the people don’t even act convincing. Led by Christian Slater (Bobby), the only recognizable name, the cast acts like too many other horror casts. They don’t follow basic protocols, they hide important information from each other, and they sure as hell don’t have common sense.
Okay, okay, I get it. If they had common sense and everything got solved, there’d be no conflict. I beg to differ. If your story needs people acting stupid to make it work, that’s probably an indication the plot needs reworking.
What else goes wrong for Stranded? The script certainly doesn’t help, but that could be mixed in with the plot. The effects are, well, just as cheesy as the dialogue. You can add the alien(s) to that category, too. The conclusion is pitiful, and the list goes on and on.
For a movie that seems to be taking itself seriously, I have to think Stranded must know it’s a cheesy B movie. It has to…right? Take away the space aspect, and it’s a cheap (on multiple levels) movie that deserves to be in your Netflix queue “Because you watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Oh wait, that’d be a compliment. Never mind. Skip this movie and rewatch Body Snatchers.
Stranded is out in limited release now. If you want to see it, check your local listings.