Ezekiel's Landing (2015) Poster

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pinnacle of home-brew sci-fi
masodo25 April 2015
Ezekiel's Landing represents Writer/Director James Treakle's foray into the realm of feature length films. Teaming with executive producer Kate Chaplin and cinematographer Robert "Bobby" Dalley, what they deliver to the Sci-Fi community is a work of art that is simply "out of this world!" Ezekiel's Landing is a Sci-Fi, Horror, Action, Thriller that pits UFO skeptics against the true believers, Earthlings versus Aliens and perceptions and memories against truth and reality.

Valiant Dead LLC and Karmic Courage Productions have brought to the Digital Big Screen an epic production that should bring exceeding pride to all those involved. In the genre of indie science fiction films, this one brings together a brilliant cast of characters dedicated to their roles and serious about their craft.

Naphatia St Pierre starring as Emma Wright (renowned author of an abduction memoir) gives a brilliant performance. Naphatia should be credited with elevating this creation from an amateur production to hover among those serious professional productions with genuine star-power - if she keeps bringing to the set what she has brought to Ezekiel's Landing then there can be no doubt that her's is a career to follow.

Ransom Pugh is certainly not to be discounted in his portrayal of Joel Hooper (a wink-and-a-nod to Spielberg,) a protagonist that is a force to be reckoned with. Joel is a professional skeptic who must confront repressed memories when he learns his childhood friends are forming a UFO cult and will not be denied; much bruising, blood and bare-chestedness ensue.

Abigail White is "packing heat" (in more ways than one) as UFO huntress and Emma's greatest fan, Kass Burroughs. Together Emma and Kass must go high-tech Cagney and Lacy on the bad guys with only the slightest expectation that they have what it takes.

Speaking of "having what it takes" - Kristine Renee Farley dominates the horror as Queen of the Cult, Natasha King. The power she lords over her minions is nothing compared to her power to cast a spell over the viewer of this film - evil in a package like this has got to be named Natasha - beware of this one.

The supporting cast are - each and every one - stars in their own right; Jeff Angel as hate-able Sheriff Ed Lucas and Edward Haynes Jr. as lovable Mike Berg certainly made their presence known in their show stealing portrayals; in fact, every actor on screen in Ezekiel s Landing has earned our attention and has contributed admirably to this epic indie masterpiece.

The superb technical aspects are not to be overlooked. Bobby Dally's creative genius is all over this production. Skill in low-light filming is a hallmark of this cameraman. Framing and angles that obliterated the confinement of the screen were successful in placing the audience squarely in the middle of the story in a way that give the edge of one's seat a good work-out. Superb editing skills are also on display amidst a killer score that often emotes what we're there for.

Sincere congratulations to James Treakle for his persistence in taking a geeked-out nerdy vision of the ultimate home-brew sci-fi epic motion picture and delivering it to the world in such a splendid project. A job well done.
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Spots of potential but lacks clarity and context to get invested.
M85ALIVE10 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I think that overall there is potential in what the writer(s)/director is trying to say. There is a hint that the writer wanted to explore how when we lie about our past it can come to torment us the more we deny it and accepting and letting o of it can set us free.

Something along those lines and it is explored to some small degree with Joel, the most interesting of all the characters in the film. Honestly, I could of really done without the other characters, they weren't interesting. He seemed to have a journey of sorts on an emotional level, the other characters not so much, they are there really to just move the story forward.

Visually there were some nice enough looking shots and use of colour. The music wasn't too bad either. The big let down is the script. It lacks three main things: clarity, essential context and scenes where we the audience can experience what the characters went through to empathise the state they are in.

1. Clarity: All through the film (and by the way I watched this twice just to be sure) it wasn't clear to me why Joel, why Emma or Kass want what they want, why it means so much to them.

What is at stake if they don't achieve their goal? Which is something to do with getting to where the signal was? Maybe? Stopping the abductees? What do they stand to lose? In the end, the abductees go missing and Joel's father is abducted again...so...what does that mean for the characters? I don't know, because at the end prologue Kass goes her separate way, Emma and Joel stay in the town to uncover more, but it's like all that happened at the alien location didn't seem to have any weight to the characters.

For Emma, Kass and Joel I'm not really tracking on a goal, I know that she went to that facility to find the where abouts of the alien signal but...then what, what is she ultimately trying to achieve? To prove aliens exist? Joel seems like a very reactive character due to him denying his past, so overall its hard to stay invested.

I get that Joel was abducted and his parents let him be abducted, but what then is he trying to achieve by going to the abduction site. This is why compelling conflict in any movie is so helpful, it's an organic way to deliver essential context, one of them being what the characters goal is, why? Stakes etc. When they are up against opposition.... We are compelled to watch to see if their stakes come to pass if they fail their goal and at the same time we understand what they want and why and why it matters.

If there is any hope of the audience getting invested in the character(s) its vital its really clear what they want, why they want it and whats; at stake if they don't get it. Clarity means we can understand the motivations of the characters.

2. Essential context: if we can then experience why it means so much on an emotional level, then we can empathise with them and you have us on board in a big way. But not here as all this is missing. The problem with Joel is he sort of wanders around bumping into situation after situation, never facing opposition enough so as to understand what it is he is after. Now, I did notice there was one main conflict scene with Joel and the other abductees in an apartment. But even here there is so much missing essential context. What do they want from joel? I watched that scene 5times, it is in no way clear what specifically they need from Joel, why do they need him? For what? What's at stake if they don't get what they want. So as a result of all this essential context I have no understanding all through the film why all of this matters. It simply lacks any strong story structure.

3. Scenes where we the audience can experience what the characters went through to empathise the state they are in and the choices they make: Well that pretty much says it there, there isn't enough scenes of what the character went through to fully empathise and understand their situation. What I mean is we need select moments that led up to the moment these people made this choice to go find this signal in way where we can really empathise why it's so important to them. Delve into Emma's lies about her abductions and how that has really effected her emotionally and mentally to feel.... FEEL, not just intellectually understand why it means so much to her and that goes for the rest of the characters too, because honestly I have no idea why this means anything to any of them..because Kass found alien contact and the film needs to progress now. Had we of experienced the abandonment of Joel's parents so they could see the universe and was experimented on would of gone a long way, though the budget I know would not of been there, but it's essential for us to empathise with him and not just sympathise with him. Honestly I think a simpler plot that could provide and experience like this would of worked much better IMO.

The other way this film is a let down is a number of times the plot stops to have big exposition dumps. Now in some movies its tolerable because it quickly gets back to engaging scenes that deliver clear context that advances the plot, here its pretty much constantly people telling other people information, lack of conflict or an element of mystery to keep us hooked in that way, something unexpected.

All in all there is potential here but lacking a lot of essential context and understanding the importance of why all this matters.

And one final note, maybe don't put in the description of the film on YouTube that this is ".. a cult classic in the making, with a thrilling story, larger-than-life characters, and the most ambitious production values for a $3000 indie film since El Mariachi. " It comes off as arrogant, and you seem like a nice guy. If it becomes a cult classic, cool. Let the audience decide that, don't count your chickens before they hatch, man :) best.
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