space, no one can hear you getting chewed out. Frankly, this crew has it
coming. You might think scientists would be careful about contagions, but
evidently not. Perhaps the semi-competency of their military commander will
keep some of them alive in Roger Christian’s Stranded (trailer
opens this Friday in New York.
small four-person moon-base is a terrible place to be surprised by a meteor
shower. That much we can buy. Suffering damage to their power generators
and life support systems, Col. Gerard Brauchman’s crew hastens to make
repairs. While outside the station, Eva Cameron
notices strange glowing spores covering the meteors, so naturally she carries
one back inside, in gross violation of station protocol and basic common
sense. While she and Dr. Lance Krause
analyze it, one of the test tubes breaks in their centrifuge, so naturally she starts
digging around in there with her finger.
Before you know it, she is spectacularly pregnant with the alien demon
spawn—and then just as suddenly she is not.
and Bruce Johns, the station engineer and resident drunk, know her alien
offspring is out there, wreaking havoc.
Yet, Brauchman and Krause dismiss their warnings, assuming they are just
suffering from CO² induced hallucinations.
Indeed, Stranded repeatedly
explains the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning with impressive thoroughness,
so at least it fulfills its public service mandate. Despite all the flak Brauchman takes for
sticking by the book, the film also suggests breaking protocol is a really bad
Stranded sounds like an Alien wannabe, take into consideration
the fact that Christian was nominated for an Academy Award for his art
direction on Ridley Scott’s beloved sci-fi horror classic, so maybe he has the
right to rip himself off. Christian had
previously won an Oscar as an art director on Star Wars (before it was known as A New Hope). His short film The Dollar bottom also won an Oscar and
his previous fantasy short Black Angel screened
before The Empire Strikes Back during
its initial run in the UK and Australia.
To temper your growing optimism, bear in mind Christian also directed
the notorious Battlefield Earth.
is some career, but with Stranded, he
lights out into clear-cut b-movie territory.
Christian makes a virtue of necessity, emphasizing the claustrophobia of
his limited set and the mounting tension within his small ensemble. To an extent, the quartet’s constant bickering
and back-biting gives the film a bit of character. Still, there is no getting around the
conspicuous carelessness of their actions and the cardboard dimensions of their
Christian Slater is not bad as Col. Brauchman, largely avoiding his typical tics
and shtick. Brendan Fehr comes across
reasonably credibly as Dr. Krause.
However, it is hard to believe a basket case like Michael Therriault’s Johns
could ever pass muster for a mission like this. As Cameron, Amy Matysio is
similarly stuck with a problematically character, solely distinguished by
head-scratching acts of stupidity.
were playing at an old school drive-in, it would be easy to recommend. On some level, dumb mayhem is always
diverting, but Manhattan movie ticket prices demand considerably more than
that. Those who might be interested solely because of Christian’s past work
should note his long presumably lost Black Angel has been found and some sort of online distribution is expected in
the near future. That is probably the film to wait for. Basically a time killer
for woozy weekend viewing, Stranded opens
this Friday (7/26) in New York at the AMC Empire and will also be available on
Labels: Christian Slater, Roger Christian, Sci-Fi films