28th May2013

‘Stranded’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Christian Slater, Brendan Fehr, Amy Matysio, Michael Therriault | Written by Christian Piers Betley | Directed by Roger Christian

STRANDED-Image

Whereas the name Christian Slater once meant a sign of a great movie (I’m thinking of the likes of Heathers, Mobsters, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and his magnum opus, Pump Up the Volume), today it tends to mean low-budget, badly scripted straight to DVD fodder. The last Slater film I watched, Sofia, was a bit of a mess. The film could have been an action-packed espionage thriller, but instead the film saw both actor and director seemingly out of their depth – with Slater literally trying to “act” like a tough guy without backing it up with any actual physicality. So I approached Stranded with a bit of trepidation, even moreso given that director Roger Christian was responsible for the atrocity that was Battlefield Earth

Making it’s world premiere here in the UK, Stranded sees Colonel Gerard K. Brauchman (Slater) leading three other astronauts on a mission aboard the ARK moon base, when a meteor suddenly collides with their space station putting the lives of the entire crew in danger. Those on board quickly learn that spores from the meteorite can replicate cell structure, reproduce, and mutate. Ava, the only female astronaut becomes infected, showing signs of pregnancy at a rapid rate. Within 36 hours she gives birth to a creature that mutates into the life form of another crew member. As the astronauts begin to experience this sinister presence, the virus spreads and the alien being targets the crew one by one, leaving those remaining to destroy it before all are killed.

Roger Christian, who was also the Art Director on Ridley Scott’s Alien, returns to the sci-fu horror genre with Stranded, which stars former teen idols Christian Slater (Gleaming the Cube) and Brendan Fehr (Roswell) and sounds – at least on paper – like a remake of David DeCoteau’s 1987 B-movie monster movie Creepozoids (reviewed here) as a strange alien “infestation” infects the only four crew member aboard the ARK moon base; and that’s essentially what it is!

Part Creepozoids, part Alien (if you replace the titular alien with a mutant baby), Stranded offers nothing new to fans of the sub-genre, yet at the same time is a hell of a lot of fun in its own right. Christian Slater chews the scenery as the by-the-book Colonel Brauchman, whilst the films only other “big name” star, Brendan Fehr, manages to play the douchebag doctor role perfectly – so  much so that when he gets his comeuppance you can’t help but cheer a little.

There’s plenty of gore and monster effects to please the horror crowd and thankfully it looks like most of these effects in Stranded are practical (something that always scores a film bonus points in my book). I’d say if you’ve seen and enjoyed Roger Corman’s 80s sci-fi output such as Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World et al, then you get a kick out of this flick.

Stranded is on DVD now courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

**** 4/5

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