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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Ejecta  (2015)
½ Star
Directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele.
Cast: Julian Richings, Adam Seybold, Lisa Houle, Mark Gibson, Justin Darmanin, Ry Barrett, Ari Millen, Cathryn Hostick.
2015 – 87 minutes
Not Rated (equivalent of an R for violence and language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman for, February 24, 2015.
For a veteran character actor who is forever playing small parts as villains and weirdoes, it is a nice change to see Julian Richings (2013's "The Colony") receive a rare leading role that puts him front and center for most of the picture. Sadly, it is in service of a project that doesn't deserve him. A flat-footed alien-invasion thriller directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele, "Ejecta" is harmed by its storytelling structure and ruined by its overbearing aesthetics. Not pausing long enough to properly connect with any of the haphazardly undernourished characters on the screen, the film instantly throws the viewer into a sloppy, two-tier narrative and hopes that something sticks. None of it does. At least, not positively.

In a heavily guarded facility, the no-nonsense Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle) has strapped the harried William Cassidy (Julian Richings) to a chair for a desperate interrogation. He has been shot in the chest, but appears to be physically doing fine. Gradually, the eventful last twelve hours are unspooled via found-footage from a documentary that filmmaker-astronomer Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold) had been making about extraterrestrial activity. Cassidy claims that he was visited thirty-nine years ago by something not of this planet, and now, on the night of a coronal mass ejection, a UFO has crashed in a nearby lake with plans of a possible takeover on the aliens' minds.

There is a single startling moment in "Ejecta," a jump-scare reveal of a creature standing in a darkened doorway. The rest of the film is pulseless. The scenes set in the top-secret facility bumble along without a point of view, punctuated by over-the-top performances and an incoherent script by Tony Burgess (2010's "Pontypool"). Meanwhile, the faux-documentary and night-vision segments, sometimes seen via camera feeds that Dr. Tobin is watching and sometimes not, are obnoxiously over-processed in post-production. Artificially orchestrated camera flickers and flashes, freeze-frames, and static interference rear their ugly heads so often that it pulls the viewer out of the movie every time. Directors Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele display no understanding of character, nuance, or emotional depth, even going so far as to introduce telekinesis and a body snatchers conspiracy in the home stretch. "Ejecta" is a wearisome, empty-headed mess, barely feeling as if it is a completed film at all. When it is over, its memory—just like an otherworldly probe—all but entirely vanishes in an instant.
© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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