20th May2020

‘Proximity’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Ryan Masson, Highdee Kuan, Christian Prentice, Shaw Jones, Don Scribner, Anthony Bradford, Joseph Buttler, Ian Coleman, Kylie Contreary, Max Cutler, Randy Davison | Written by Eric Demeusy, Jason Mitcheltree | Directed by Eric Demeusy

Sci-fi is not a genre I watch as much as I probably should because some of my favourite ever movies are from that genre. From franchises like Star Wars to epics like Interstellar, to the more horror-influenced Alien, it’s a genre that has a wide range of great movies. Proximity with its modest budget, inexperienced actors and director tries to take on the best that sci-fi has to offer.

In Proximity a young NASA scientist is abducted by aliens. Despite having video footage of it, when he posts it on the Internet and local TV gets a hold of it, no-one really believes him, which starts him on a journey of finding proof.

I mention the budget initially because I assume Proximity’s is low but you really can’t tell. It looks absolutely fantastic. Director Eric Demeusy may be inexperienced in the directors chair (some short movies are all that came before this) but it is no surprise that he has worked on the visual effects for such high profile shows as Game of Thrones and Stranger Things. The epic sci-fi style Demeusy is going for here he hits at pretty much every opportunity. The CGI is first rate throughout, whether it be spaceships, laser-like guns, great slow-motion effects, bike chases or the aliens themselves – it all looks great. And it certainly helps Proximity reach highs that films with a similar budget just don’t reach.

They didn’t cut corners on locations either because whether it be beautiful forest and seas, a cabin in the woods or a secret government facility, all of them work really really well.

The writing is maybe the biggest letdown but it’s not that it’s terrible. The director also co-wrote it so he clearly knows what he is going for but at times it is just poorly written. Cheesy sci-fi is fine but it doesn’t always fit here and even though the movie goes at a decent pace it still feels like a good twenty minutes could have been knocked off the near two hour run time. And even with that two hours, only the main character (Isaac) really has any depth to him and is the only one we know much about. The main ‘villain’ for example just seems thrown in there and gets nowhere near enough screen time to get his story across.

But there are more positives. Performances are decent, with much of the dialogue feeling natural and everyone cast well. The music is a bit all over the place. It is very much loud and centre when it is there but occasionally it just doesn’t suit the scene. But when they get it right (which is more often than not) it’s terrific with some ambitious original score and some great sounding synthwave eighties-influenced pop songs that I wanted to listen to again immediately after the film had finished.

Spielberg is clearly an influence on the filmmakers here and they have succeed in making that kind of sci-fi movie while still adding their own twist to proceedings. It’s a movie that will definitely find its audience and I would be very surprised if Eric Demeusy doesn’t go on to make much bigger things. As a debut feature film it’s highly polished, original and entertaining. Proximity doesn’t get everything right but when it does it’s a joy to watch.

*** 3/5

Proximity is out now on Digital HD from Signature Entertainment.

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