17th Aug2018

‘Extinction’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Michael Peña, Lizzy Caplan, Amelia Crouch, Erica Tremblay, Lex Shrapnel, Emma Booth, Lilly Aspell, Mike Colter, Israel Broussard | Written by Spenser Cohen, Brad Kane | Directed by Ben Young


A family man is plagued by dreams of loss. But his dreams turn out to be more prophetic than paranoid when the planet is attacked by an offworld invasion. As he fight to protect the people he loves, he discovers he has a hidden strength that can keep them safe from harm.

Ben Young’s Michael Pena and Lizzy Caplan starring sci-fi thriller Extinction has a had a rough ride to the finality of audiences eyes glaring upon the screen. Infamously curated by Universal studios as a cinematic release only to be ultimately sold in mid-post-production to the streaming platform Netflix as a Netflix exclusive, two months after it was taken off a cinema schedule, causing questions to be asked long before the premiere date on the streaming platform.

Two questions arise from the fiasco stated above. Firstly, why did Universal drop it? Secondly, is it any good? The answer to the latter helps explains the former, which is in lack of a better phrase – not really. ‘Extinction’ isn’t a bad film per say. It has its moments of peril and a story that invests a heavy amount of time into the development of a family dynamic that treads ever so slightly on a sickly attempt of engagement that unfortunately, fails to provide a significant amount of intrigue within the events that unfold.

The story is a perfect example of an element that holds a potential to subvert genre conventions and the typical cliches, and while it stumbles with the latter, the former does manage to succeed but depending on personal philosophies of audiences regarding futurism. The film will either balance out as stoic congestion of poignancy or fleeting emotional intrigue, but after everything is over you’ll be left pondering the difference or even the point of impact the film wants or forcefully pushes to summon.

To its credit, Young’s film is facing an uphill battle with the tremendous amount of CGI work that was clearly yet to be finished before Universal pulled the plug, and even the resources of Netflix aren’t able to pour money at what isn’t even a moderately convincing quality of CGI work that is incorporated in the final film. It looks comparable to that of a second-generation computer game, both lifeless and flat, that sadly significantly dampens the impact of the set-pieces and antagonists of the picture. Therefore holding little to no tension or atmosphere throughout the picture that will deeply affect the emotional connection with character and audience, made even stranger with such a lazy and horrifyingly shoddy ending that highlights the abruptness and cheapness of the picture.

Extinction is available on Netflix now.


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