Earthling (2010) Poster

(2010)

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Starts out strong but ends up... what?
thecomicbox9 November 2011
Earthling starts out as an intriguing film. We're left to begin piecing together the disjointed bits of storytelling to begin this fantastic sci-fi journey. After about an hour we're still being teased with disjointed information and characters who know what they're doing but unfortunately forgot to tell us the viewer what they're doing. They act with meaning and motivation but there is no clear reason why they are acting and talking the way they are. It's all very well to be mysterious and aloof but frankly i got lost and ending up not caring what they were doing. It's like the director watched too many David Lynch films and tried to outdo him. In the end i got it but i really didn't care. It went from strong, to confusing to will this please end. The only saving grace was the lead actor, she was brilliant but even towards the end you could just see her delivering lines and probably wondering what the hell was going on too. It's nice to evoke feelings and emotions in film but at the end of the day it's about entertainment. It wasn't there.
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6/10
Great .. and Bad.
digdog-785-7175387 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This film is a pseudo sci-fi story about a woman who finds out - slowly - that she is in fact an alien; Earthling begins with a sequence aboard an orbital space station, with a mysterious object coming close to it and bringing chaos to the station - a lone survivor goes mad, calling mission control and telling them to "stay away" and "do not try to rescue us". Setting the tone for hard-core sci-fi, the real film begins with Judith, a college teacher, who is in hospital following a car crash - of which she does not remember, apparently because of her long-standing epilepsy. Lost in the car crash was also her unborn baby, which puts Judith in a period of extreme grief and near hallucinations.

During this self-destructive period, Judith begins to realise that "something is not right", and a new character is introduced to quicken the pace and guide the protagonist towards the realisation that she is in fact an alien - and so are many others - living "in disguise" on earth.

Now.. for the review. Earthling has at least two great points i can think of: it's acted superbly - we're not talking Hollywood tripe here, more like Tolstoy than Bay - and it's got a striking soundtrack.

Yes, i myself hate when a soundtrack is given such importance - after all, films are visual, and a soundtrack should add to the product, not be so prominent as to become an entity of itself - but together with the strong acting Earthling manages to create a truly intense atmosphere of anxiety and expectation. And unfortunately, this is where it all goes wrong - the atmosphere works against the film.

After all the plot points have been laid down, circa 50 minutes in, the great expectations of sci-fi awesomeness are shattered when the film runs dry.

I see how Earthling must have been someone's great first project and as that it's great, yet not perfect; one part of the filmmaker's job is to make sure that there is enough plot to keep the story going, and here there just isn't. The Astronaut's Wife saved the juicy bits for the last five minutes and it was a failure; The Man from Earth instead understood that if you don't have anymore sci-fi content, it's a good choice to move along and change the pace. Unfortunately Earthling doesn't do that, but tries to stick with the sci-fi theme even when the story calls for some serious eye-candy bonanza, of which there is none, and that's the end of the story.

Good direction, short-changed story, mediocre production, superb acting (if traditional), and a mesmerising soundtrack, worth a watch for anyone who is into filmmaking;

My final vote, 6/10 - watch it.
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Alien slugs possess and copulate with humans in this brooding, complex, cross-genre horror yarn.
pameladegraff5 September 2013
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?
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Complex and compelling
staffan-663-32107011 November 2011
This is a very ambitious and complex sci-fi drama with a low budget. It has some similarities to "Another Earth", but this plot is much more complicated. Imagine a mix of dreamy Sopphia Coppola-scenes and some David Cronenberg-creatures, then add some "Solaris". The slow pace and feeling of the film is very beautiful and hypnotic, like Another Earth. The acting in Earthling is really good, especially the main character, and the plot is very implicit witch kept me interested throughout the whole movie. For instance, no one ever mentions the word "alien" or "planet", you have to keep guessing. This is the typical "Filmfestival-sci-fi-drama".
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7/10
No Explosions, Space Marines, or Giant Robots
jcanady303030 October 2012
Slow-paced and non-linear, the exposition mirrors the heroine's difficult realization of who she is. With that said, the pace of the movie, while generally slow, often suffers from jumps wherein a significant line is half-muttered and passed by with little further comment. Still, the acting was adequate (often better than adequate) and served to maintain the movie's (at times taxing) air of suspense. The central romance, while touching, was not sufficiently developed. Like the rest of the plot, it builds very slowly, then the movie more or less ends. This film was a nice break from big-budget Hollywood sci-fi, and it is definitely NOT for those who prefer the explosions-and-giant-robots side of the genre. If you enjoyed either version of Solaris, then this, while not as good, should be worth the watch.
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Quite boring hardly sci-fi story
rds_17 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
So what's it about? What I could make of it since it was quite boring and at a certain point I stopped watching it directly but left it running so that I could still hear that was said, occasionally looking at what was happening.

A woman (teacher) lost her baby in a car crash and gets depressed. A transfer student shows up and there seems to be some sort of grim connection between them. Meanwhile she notices some weird "tumors" on her head like baby devil horns. This apparently is how they chose to differentiate between humans and aliens in this movie.

... Lots of boring bla bla. Near the end apparently she and others are aliens that were drawn to earth because of certain feelings they did not know like (cliche) love, which they wanted to experience for themselves. So they set out to live on earth as humans instead of worm like creatures (how they ever managed space travel is a complete mystery). But somehow or for some reason their memories have been wiped.

Now the rest I'm not sure about. But I think what was going on was that there was some sort of rescue probe drawing them to it to take them home but they had to sort of fight that attraction if they wanted to stay!? More I can't really make of it without re-watching it but that I'm not going to do. Was too boring to begin with. I'd rather pop in an old epi of Farscape or some other decent sci-fi instead of this dren :)
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2/10
Save your money
Netjer-y-khet6 November 2011
This movie is a disjointed mishmash of things that don't make sense: a meaningless opening, constant, meaningless flashbacks and cuts so big you could sail the Queen Mary through them. Depressing background music. Pointless scenes with no rhyme or reason. Fundamental ideas that we've all seen before - obsessive drawing of pictures from Close Encounters, and symbiotes from Stargate, for example.

The holes in the dialog were so big that at one point I had to rewind to watch the run-up to one scene three times to make sure I hadn't missed something. It turns out I hadn't missed anything - it was either another gaping hole in the dialog or the editor went mad and took a meat axe to it.

If the plot got any vaguer this flick wouldn't have one. It's a low-budget, miserable failure. Save yourself the cost of the video hire. Watching paint dry is more entertaining.

Oh, and don't let the mention of Close Encounters or Stargate mislead you into believing this is actually a sci-fi flick. It isn't. It's more of a weird drama that tries to ask "what makes us human?"
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Apparently the director has problems sharing the story with the viewers.
fedor85 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A frustrating film, mostly in the final third, for the simple reason that the "explanations" given to the viewers do very little to convey either what the aliens are about, what they plan(ned), or what they really want(ed). The flashbacks are particularly bad i.e. useless.

The first half of the movie is appropriately mysterious, so far so good, but as soon as the script brings about attempts to clarify the back story, bit by bit, "Earthling" starts falling apart, because some major confusion starts setting in. I would estimate that only approximately 30% of what is "explained" (ha ha) is comprehensible. The rest is verbal junk, clumsily written.

The writer/director was clearly too incompetent in explaining the story to the viewer through the awful flashbacks and messy dialogue, i.e. both in the verbal and visual department, hence he should then have not tried at all and kept the aliens' background mysterious. Either that, or he should have simply asked someone more adept in writing screenplays to help him with the movie, because he clearly doesn't have a grasp of the barest essentials in letting a mystery unfold. "Scriptwriting For Dummies", that's the book I'll get him for Christmas.

Otherwise, it's not a bad film. Not terribly original, what with its over half-a-century old "body snatchers from space" basic premise, but fairly entertaining thanks to a few small touches of originality here and there and a female cast that tries.

Speaking of which, the actors mumbling through some of the dialogue didn't help matters either. So when I said that they "try", I meant that they tried to open their mouths to form the words that make up their lines, because I suspect that the director either drugged them or glued their lips together. Or perhaps they were a little embarrassed about the confusing nonsense that was coming out of their mouths, they didn't want to be understood.

Combine the muddled dialogue, the confusing flashbacks, and the actors' mumbling, and you've really got quite a film soup. Not so much food for thought as virtual food for thought. A carrot that just keeps moving away, rather than coming closer to us. Basically an almost impossible to follow story. Even though the story's essential elements are obvious, it's the many details that get lost in the maze of the director's horrible writing.
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8/10
Fresh approach to sci-fi with a deeper meaning
dtempleton-18 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Do you ever feel like you just don't fit in? Maybe we all do, and maybe there's a good reason.

Earthling uses a sci-fi context to explore this sociological situation. Sure the sci-fi constructions are stereotypes... the slug that occupies the brain is straight out of vintage Star Treck, and the space probe seen in the introduction (in black and white) could have come from Buck Rogers. What the director is saying is that this doesn't matter to the story, that the story takes place at a deeper level.

As the story evolves, it is aided by strong performances by the two female leads that reflect love, doubt, and duplicity. The male characters and actors are significantly weaker. As above, the effects are not the strength, it is the inner dialog and conflict that matters. The main character makes a journey of a lifetime without moving very far at all, and we come to empathize with a creature that is not at all human, yet reflects us all.

4 out of 5.
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3/10
really bad
singingswiss715 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I guess you could do something with a story like that, but this movie goes nowhere, it is a big mess, I guess it is time movie makers hire real writers again.

When you realize the symbiotes are the actual aliens and you see them you really wonder how they could go into space and how they could build spacecraft, the look like some kind of worms ...

I love science-fiction, and I don't mind the occasional impossibility, but this is taking things way too far, with no real story or structure. I suggest you avoid this movie and watch something else. Watch at your own risks.
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6/10
Begins Well, Fizzles Out
samkan15 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
EARTHLING, though obviously low budget begins with a curious patience, holding back, etc. About a half hour into the movie, I was optimistic that I would be getting a more cerebral, subtle take on the "aliens among us" genre. The sparse dialog, low key characters and mundane setting set me up for a "thinker" flick devoid of the clichés attached to the traditional "They are here!" junk. Though EARTHLING neither falls apart nor totally sells out, it does cave-in to the inevitable contrivances. It's as if the screenwriter simply got tired and needed to finish up without time for his original vision. The female lead, it should be noted, is very intriguing and manages to hold the film together to some degree. If EARTHLING had finished what it started (and had twenty minutes shaved) it could've amounted to something.
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7/10
Good Intellectual Science Fiction
Hitchcoc2 November 2014
While this may not appeal to the general public, it is what science fiction can be. Instead of a bunch of intergalactic cowboys facing off with one another, this is a truly thought provoking movie. There are shades of David Lynch in this stark presentation. Several people are suddenly faced with a kind of mass amnesia after an event they can't entirely explain. Because they are humans, they see what as happening to them initially as a type of disease (even epilepsy in one case). Soon they are draw to each other. Part of their problem is that they are such diverse personalities who are filled with distrust. They are drawn to water, particular just off the shore of a small lake where a series of images invade their psyches. They all have growths on their heads, like the beginnings of little deer antlers. They are also losing some of their skin. Things unfold in a really interesting way with tragic consequences, but there is an answer somewhere and it requires a great deal of trust. While this is a highly imperfect film, I appreciated that their reach exceeds their grasp.
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