Review: AUSTRALIENS (2014)

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A little girl wanders outside one night and has a close encounter with a flying saucer that shows its hostile intent by stealing her balloon. It’s seventeen years later and they’re back. This time with more than balloons on their mind, this time they abduct her mother. AUSTRALIENS is a cheerful little parody from a part of the world that has produced several over the years such as  BODY MELT and  ME AND MY MATES VS THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE., and to name a few. This time out it’s the extraterrestrials turn to be spoofed as they invade the land down under. The girl who had the close encounter has grown up, Andi (Rita Artmann who also co-wrote the film) has grown up to become the singer of the least popular rock band in Australia, she’s also convinced the encounter left her with psychic powers.

So when the visitors return immediately after one of her gigs and the rest of the world just sits back and watches she knows she’s the only one who can stop them. When the kidnap her Mom it becomes personal. She rounds up her friends Cam (Tamara McLaughlin) a filmmaker ready to turn the invasion into a movie, boxer Keith (Lawrence Silver) and her hypochondriac brother Elliot (Doug Hatch) and set out to save the world. And rescue Mom.

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Co-written by star Rita Artman and director Joe Bauer  (who also plays the infected Jon) this is a delightfully silly take on 50s sci-fi with flying saucers, wonderfully daft characters and effects that while not bad are not exactly top of the heap. They’re more delightfully gaudy with the saucers looking like they were made from neon rainbows. The actual aliens, however, are well done as are their robots.

It manages to keep up an almost manic energy throughout and never drags despite running just under two full hours. Granted the humor is fairly restrained for an Aussie film, but that’s not to say it’s kids stuff either, think MARS ATTACKS by way of ATTACK THE BLOCK and you’ll be in the right neighbourhood.

Perhaps the best thing about  AUSTRALIENS though is how much new talent and fresh faces are on display here it’s only the second feature as writer/director for Bauer, the other being 2011’s THE KILLAGE and most of the cast have only a handful of TV episodes and short films to their name, (though sharp-eyed fans may recognize Emma Randall from another Aussie gem UNDEAD as the alien commander). This could be the film that unleashes a lot of new talent on movie lovers. And let’s face it, the industry needs some new talent right now. Especially talent that doesn’t need nine-digit budgets to show it off.

A great film to watch while drinking Fosters and one of the funniest films of the past few years. It’s out on DVD and VOD from Midnight Releasing.

Our Score

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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