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  • Rev Horror

Kids vs. Aliens

Dir. Jason Eisener (2022)

Aliens attack during a teen house party and the kids must band together to fight the extraterrestrial threat.

CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


Director Jason Eisener brings us just the second feature film spinoff of the V/H/S series with the upcoming Kids vs. Aliens, testing the old W.C. Fields adage to “never work with children or animals” to the utmost degree. Gary (Dominic Mariche) and his sister Samantha (Phoebe Rex) are the best of friends, filming crazy movies with the help of Gary’s friends Jack (Asher Grayson), and Miles (Ben Tector). Unfortunately, Samantha has recently started receiving the attention of high school bully Billy (Calem MacDonald), which drives a wedge between Samantha and her dorky younger brother. When aliens arrive and attack the teenagers’ Halloween house party, the siblings and their friends must come together to defeat the invaders from another world.

The pacing in this film is chef’s kiss perfection, the aliens showing up almost exactly halfway into the film. The runtime is just under an hour twenty, preventing this feature-based-on-a-short from going too long and wearing out its welcome. It’s a near-perfect throwback to the 80’s B-movies that most of us cut our teeth on, with goofy-looking and yet still kinda terrifying aliens that are clearly DIY and look more like props from a Spirit Halloween than something coming from a Hollywood studio. If that sounds like criticism, trust me, it’s not, because the creatures are first-rate for a retro film like this one. The one area of the film that felt a little out-of-place was Samantha’s entrance into the alien world, which dragged a little but never really took away from the film, especially considering that “dragging” for a film this short only constituted around five minutes of the runtime.

The special effects are gnarly and disgusting, like an HD Toxic Avenger mixed with Close Encounters. The child actors do an surprisingly excellent job, continuing with the recent trend of “kids swearing is hilarious” that has become the rage as of late. While not all of the plot points make complete sense, and the film definitely goes more for style and action than a straightforward narrative, it all proceeds at such a fun, breakneck pace that it’s hard to find too many faults in the story. It could’ve used a bit more blood, because what was there was pretty fantastic, and I would’ve liked to see a higher bodycount even if it had added to the runtime a bit. The characters are also a bit one-note, but again, that’s hardly a criticism for the type of film Eisener was aiming for.

All in all, it’s entertaining and raucous as hell, and you can’t ask for a whole lot more than that. For a spinoff of arguably the second-best V/H/S film, it works surprisingly well, the frenetic camerawork and pounding score adding to the already speedy thrill ride. As with almost all horror, it’s hard to call it a good movie, but its fun, energetic, and a great bridge between action, science fiction, and horror. Director Jason Eisener, already known to many horror fans for his crazy-as-hell Hobo with a Shotgun, is one to watch.

Who this movie is for: V/H/S fans, 80’s B-movie lovers, Amateur child filmmakers

Bottom line: Literally a thrill-a-minute, Kids vs. Aliens is one of the more breakneck horror films in recent memory. It’s full of childlike glee and some gnarly-as-hell gore, and it’s a delight as long as you don’t look too hard for anything below the surface level. Jason Eisener is making a name for himself with his contributions to anthology films, and this attempt to flesh one out into a feature has a lot of high points that genre fans, especially old ones like me who remember the craziness of 80’s B-movies, will absolutely love. This is one that should definitely be checked out, even if its not going to make its way onto any all-time lists

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