Earthling - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Earthling Reviews

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May 5, 2019
A different Sci-Fi movie. More into 'personal' drama and doubts of the aliens. Normally they are just the enemy, but now they are the protagonists, and it makes a strange effect to get even identified with them.
Totally recommendable for Sci-Fi enthusiats, even it is not an easy film and you have to pay full attention, and be confortable with 'human' drama.
June 13, 2015
Clay Liford is an innovative filmmaker without a budget. There are some interesting ideas brewing in Earthling, but the SciFi genre used fails to convey them. It seems as if there is a compelling existential examination of loneliness and the societal challenges that form barriers preventing true connection to each other. The problem is Liford is trying so hard to overcome the limitations of special effects and plot that is all too familiar. It doesn't work, but I'd rather pay to see a talented artist taking risks that fail --- than a mediocre SciFi/Horror movie with lots of great special effects without any attempt at character development. The director aims to high, but there are some engaging moments to be found.
½ May 19, 2014
As if a screenwriter worked backward from a fully-formed story, then parceled pieces of it to create viewer intrigue along the way. Unfortunately, doing that requires more exposition than was included in the film.
½ December 4, 2013
Weird movie, kept me on the edge of my seat, made me think.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2013
EARTHLING (2010) independent
FEATURING: Rebecca Spence, Amelia Turner, Matt Socia, Peter Greene, William Katt, Jenny Shakeshaft, Savanna Sears, Harry Goaz
TAGS: aliens, body snatchers, body metamorphoses, parasitism, lesbianism, incest (note: no nudity)

PLOT: Alien slugs possess and copulate with humans in this brooding, complex, cross-genre horror yarn.

COMMENTS: Here's another unique gem of an independent film. With its shockingly unnatural quirks, Earthling will resonate with fans of David Cronenberg's early efforts such as The Brood and Scanners. Earthling is a horror movie with some meaning, not a profound, philosophical meaning, but enough to put the ghastliness in a context that makes it resonate.

Earthling is not a fast-paced blood-fest. Arty and pensive, the film plays out like a character study, interspersed with elements of horror. Featuring an alien possession theme familiar to fans of such thrillers as Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Night Of The Creeps, The Hidden, and Slither, Earthling takes a derivative idea and amps it up a notch, adding a degree of sophistication not seen in the aforementioned sci-fi entries. Earthling combines a multi-layered storyline, non-linear plot elements, touches of romance, lesbianism, and visceral sexual themes, with morbid body metamorphoses and grotesque, brain-inhabiting slugs, to produce a genuinely unique and offbeat viewing experience!

In Earthling, Rebecca Spence plays Judith, a schoolteacher who begins having bizarre flashbacks and dreams about people she's never met, and events she's never lived. Worse, her body is changing -she's discovered a couple of gnarly growths on either side of her forehead, right at the hairline -she's becoming horny and not in a fun way! Judith doesn't understand what's happening to her, but several creepy people who introduce themselves seem to know quite a bit. The answer has something to do with her mother's death, a mysterious lake, and a comatose astronaut (Matt Socia) who was rescued from the orbiting space station after all hell broke loose up there. One of Judith's new acquaintances, a morose girl named Abby (Amelia Turner), likes to lure women to that enigmatic lake for gruesome littoral bait and switch encounters. The glade hides a repellent secret and after Judith's initial oddball brush with her, Abby's underground entourage of weirdo pals start turning up in unlikely places, triggering a twisted series of sick coincidences.

With touches of the 1972 Solaris (that dissertation-length Soviet movie about a planet with a living consciousness that begins to take cosmonauts under its influence, remade in 2002 with George Clooney), Earthling spans the gap between sociological exploration and outright icky sci-fi horror. Slimy aliens love to screw, and they like to screw humans, and it turns out, vice versa, but exactly who are the aliens and who are the earthlings? Is there truly so much difference between them and us, and does it really matter? What does it mean to be human, anyway? Judith is about to find out. As eerie repressed memories surface, what Judith discovers about herself, her new "friends," and her past is more than she'd like to know.

Judith pieces things together and the movie becomes a bit murky and disjointed. Is this an attempt on the part of the filmmakers to be arty, or does it help us understand her confusion, putting us in her perspective as she struggles to make sense of what's happening? I think the later, and as we go through Judith's experience with her, effective characterization and credible motivations draw us into Judith's nightmare and cause us to ponder. This is the best kind of story -the kind that makes you think. Earthling manages to stay a step ahead of us. Its twists and turns lead to an imaginative unraveling of reality with an ending that isn't predictable.

Even better, the horror of Earthling is the incipient sort, a mounting dread of losing control to something terrible and disgusting that's already deep inside and inescapable. Earthling is uncanny and unsettling because it's filmed like a drama, one that presents a deceptively reassuring, here-and-now sense of the cheery sunlit world around us, but at moments, that world distorts and reveals awful things. The contrast provides a subtle intensity which is delightfully disturbing. What is reality, and how much of it is subjectively determined by the way we conceive of ourselves? When Judith peels back her own mask and looks underneath, she -and we -discover the blood, veins, and mortality which we normally gloss over. The result is the type of revulsion that makes us squirm, the kind we can't get away from, because the horror is us.

Earthling isn't as momentous as 2001: A Space Odyssey, but like that imaginative, existential exploration, Earthling doesn't just hand us the concept; it requires the viewer to do some work, and upon the initial viewing, we carry away a general rather than a specific sense of what's transpired. Earthling's ideas are engaging and give us pause. If you found a planet populated by lifeforms whose personalities and values you really relate to, would you choose to go native?

And if so, just how viscerally "native" would you be willing to go?
April 29, 2013
This movie was 1 hr 10 min too long. If you want to have a life, please do not watch this movie which contains a paper thin plot, bad writing, hardly any editing, and is not even good enough to be called a "B" movie.
Spoiler Alert!! Like it would matter...basically, 10 minutes into the movie, baby squids/octopi start coming out of people's mouths, whereupon they take to the lake. Anytime someone comes near the lake, a "Jaws" like foreboding sound gets added to the soundtrack. This movie is beyond stupid. I hope some millionaire buys all the copies and makes a nice bonfire.
January 21, 2013
The feeling of insignificance permeates this film as you view it. Mood triumphs over story, but when you're left in the dark all you can see is nothing. Images begin to make sense when characters don't and when that happens you have a film that doesn't really need your sympathy but is pretty to look at. Writer/Director Clay Liford isn't really interested in the details of his story, but is interested in how words travel back and forth. Especially the incoherent kind of words that only a group of pod people could understand.

Judith recently had a miscarriage. It's left her traumatized in the form of being emotionally withdrawn. Her husband isn't happy with his wife becoming less interested in their marriage and her work life (she's a school teacher) is also on the rocks. It's until a new student named Abby enters the fray. She keeps eyeballing Judith like a lion to it's prey. At first you may think you're witnessing a forbidden lesbian romance between a student and teacher only to find out that it's something much more erotic: Aliens.

Some have compared this to a Cronenberg film, but it is so much more closer to Charles Burns graphic novel 'Black Hole'. It may not be entirely inspired by it, but the mood of the film immediately got me thinking of that book. I have always wanted to see that graphic novel brought to life and this might be the closes I'll ever have to seeing it. I mean there were a couple of scenes that reminded me of that book. Like for example the fact that these characters have large mutated bumps on their foreheads which are to resemble tumors, but could be perfectly placed in the form of horns like a devil or demon would have. So close to that book in tone, but so very far away.

After a strange disturbance on the International Space Station sends back it's only survivor, he shares a sort of psychic link between himself and Judith. Judith dreams about this astronaut and something has to do with him carrying apart of the spiky asteroid-like ball that had struck the I.S.S. It's never exactly straight forward with you in what this ball really is. Is it a rescue pod? Does it link them back to the home planet? You see Judith, Abby and a few others have known that they're not really human. They've taken the human form because of...well, I don't fucking know. I mean it's never really explained. All I could figure out was that they tried their best to keep away from the signal that is leading them to the spiky ball because they want to stay on Earth? Also there's some type of impregnation subplot that didn't add up either and Abby was really a husband to Judith on another planet and blah blah blah. It made no fucking sense in the end.

This film's artistic merits stand up well. I'll give it that. So does the first act of the film which was done wonderfully. BUT IT FALLS THE FUCK APART AROUND THE ONE HOUR MARK! It begins to become an incoherent mess. You can even see it in the faces of the actors that they themselves don't really know what the fuck they're saying. Yeah. They show A LOT of emotion, but you can just feel they're out of the loop as much as we are. That was disappointing. The acting is great though. Rebecca Spense who plays Judith holds the film together, but even she can't hold the film up in the last act. Amelia Turner who played Abby was incredible and I'll be keeping my eye out for her films. It's just too fucking bad that Clay Liford couldn't at least elaborate more on WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?! Instead he just has his characters spout of vague things that only THEY are more aware of then we are. It's starts off mysteriously beautiful before it evolved into a turd. A pretty turd, but a turd none the less.

Overall, this film had potential if it wasn't for the director's ADHD screenplay.
½ September 13, 2012
This movie is way too long for it's content. She learns that she's an alien, and decides to reside on earth as a parasitic life form. That's all well and good, and I appreciate the alien perspective instead of Invasion of the Bad Guy/Racial Hatred substitute for National Pride, but it basically stagnated without a plot. Nothing happening except a creature coming to terms with it's own existence. Nice try, but a boring watch.
July 31, 2012
A bit talky, but an interesting new sci-fi with a touch of horror. Kind of a mix of Cronenberg's THEY CAME FROM WITHIN & INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. At Hulu.
½ July 7, 2012
Uhm...,I just wasted 2 hours of my life on this turd...
½ July 6, 2012
More shoe-gazing, incomprehensible emo crap posing as "thoughtful indie commentary on being and belonging". I'm all for the format and there are some great examples of it out there, and thanks to some great indie streaming sites on the web a lot more of it gets to be seen.Unfortunately this one doesn't make the grade. It is very well cast and the actors turn in believable performances, there just isn't enough substance for them to work with. Even the FX would have been forgivable, if only the story had been stronger
January 12, 2012
What you'll take home from it:
-If you've ever had intestinal worms, you probably also had an alien's spawn.
-Extraterrestrials are tourists with an exquisite appetite for human cuisine.
-Everyone's family tree/genealogy should be reevaluated by an exterminator.
-If you have bad bouts of acne, you should find others like you to find out what planet you are really from.
November 16, 2011
Just a little more effort on the SFX would surely have put this movie on the map. Believable performances all round, especially Jennifer Spence and Amelia Turner, make this a very watchable flick that indie film fans will embrace. There's an underground in the film world even in the States that challenges all that Hollywood has to offer. Films such as Primer, Another Earth, Bellflower and Earthling deserve some kudos and a cult fan base.
½ November 12, 2011
Anyone ever made a student film that didn't work out?...well this looks like it unfortunately...if you dont have the money to do decent SFX then just don't do it or find another ruins the film. Rebecca Spence however actually put in a decent performance and deserves a better role in a better film!
May 25, 2011
You can only describe this movie as brooding, but it is not a in a bad way. The dark atmosphere strongly enhances the storyline and the understated delivery. If you are looking for an action and adventure movie, or one that explains everything to you step by step or just want a brain break and don't want to think much, I suggest you forgo this film. On the other hand, if you like and are in the mood for a smart, indie film that make you think, have at it. And yes, I did notice the cheesiness of the space rock, but it is easy for forgive it.
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