Kids vs. Aliens (2022) Review
Kids vs. Aliens gets off to a promising start as the crew of a fishing boat witness a UFO splashdown near them and are quickly decimated by its occupants. The scene then cuts rather jarringly to Gary (Dominic Mariche, Corner Gas Animated, Are You Afraid of the Dark?) his friends Miles (Ben Tector) and Jack (Asher Grayson, Tuff Boy, Scaredy Cats ) along with his older sister Samantha (Phoebe Rex) making a super 8 post-apocalyptic epic.
After their shoot is disrupted by neighbourhood bully Billy (Calem McDonald, Trailer Park Boys, Night Blooms) and his friends Sam finds herself interested in things other than filmmaking. There are just two problems. One, Billy is only interested in one thing, well two things, he also wants her to let him throw a Halloween party at her house while her parents are away. Two, or I guess three now, the aliens plan on attending as well.
Director Jason Eisener (Treevenge, The Teeth Beneath) reteams with John Davies who wrote his best-known film, Hobo With a Shotgun. The pair quickly establish that the kids live in suburbia that’s the opposite of Spielberg’s as the sibling’s parents take off on a trip leaving Gary in the hospital with a broken arm, and his sister left to deal with getting him home and taking care of him.
For the first half of tKids vs. Aliens both the aliens, and the feds looking for them, are kept in the background, with just an odd glimpse of them or their spaceship. Thankfully the teen angst that we get instead is actually well-handled and a lot more realistic than in a lot of films. Mariche and Rex have excellent chemistry and are convincing as siblings. McDonald does a solid job of going from scummy to dangerous as Billy, giving the film a sense of threat even before the aliens attack.
Considering their, and the rest of the cast’s, lack of credits this is actually an extremely well-acted film. The only face you may recognize is J-Roc from Trailer Park Boys, Jonathan Torrens, who has a brief appearance as the father. But we aren’t watching a film called Kids vs. Aliens for the coming of age dramatics we’re watching it to see kids fighting aliens. And once they arrive, staging a chaotic and frightening attack on the party. Their victims are dragged to their underwater lair, leaving Sam no option but to don a mask and air tank and save the day.
The alien ship looks like the interior of a cave, rendered in a mix of colourful, low-budget sets that look like they were stolen from a kids Saturday morning TV show. This is in sharp contrast to the extremely nasty and gory deaths we see. The aliens use humans as fuel, which means dissolving them with some kind of liquid. While they’re still alive of course. Another is is transformed into the alien equivalent of an attack dog.
Apart from some alien blood spray, the effects are practical with performers in creepy-looking suits portraying the creatures. Along with the body meltdown, there are severed limbs, a split head and an alien impaled through the eye as Sam quips “Enjoy the view”. If you’ve seen Hobo with a Shotgun you have an idea of what to expect, it’s the kind of bloody, and frequently funny, alien mayhem I haven’t seen since Psycho Goreman.
Loud, exciting and foul-mouthed, Kids vs. Aliens is a lot of fun. It even managed to surprise me a couple of times. Perhaps the biggest surprise, especially given the setting, is that it wasn’t a Halloween release. It’s certainly better than most of what we got. And don’t miss the post-credit scene.