Children vs. Aliens (2023) Movie Review and Movie Summary

This was clearly a DIY production and most of the film’s budget seems to have gone into making it as colorful as possible. It’s money well spent, as the in-your-face aesthetic at least partially compensates for the thin plot and cardboard characters. (The dialogue is crude, too, but it fits the overall tone, so it’s not that big a deal.) At 75 minutes, “Kids vs. Aliens” feels more like a pilot episode than it does a fully realized feature film, not least because there is more plot implied in the last 30 seconds than actually unfolds in the first 30 minutes.

The first half hour is spent setting up the characters, namely the rambunctious preteen Gary (Dominic Mariche) and his teenage sister Samantha (Phoebe Rex), who – in another grand genre film tradition – are almost constantly left unattended by their workaholics. Technically, Samantha is in charge. But she’s a big kid herself, with interests that include cool swords and pro wrestling. And she enthusiastically participates in the films that Gary and his friends Jack (Asher Grayson Percival) and Miles (Ben Tector) is always cooking in a barn on Gary and Samantha’s family property. That is, until the brooding bad boy Billy (Calem MacDonald) comes with.

“Kids vs. Aliens” takes a childish view of Samantha’s subsequent turn to teenage angst; in this movie’s mind, growing up means smoking cigarettes, wearing lots of eye makeup, and giving up your true friends and interests. The moral dimensions of the plot are also simplistic: Billy is an unequivocal villain – all the teenagers in this film except Samantha are actually sociopaths – and the film reflects Gary’s hurt feelings at what he sees as his sister’s betrayal. However, she gets a chance to redeem herself when the aliens belatedly appear halfway through the film.

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