INVASION EARTH is a 2016 sci-fi drama from the UK. Note that I said “Sci-fi drama”. While the poster for INVASION EARTH may indicate an Independence Day style alien invasion movie, I was surprised to find myself in the midst of a teen drama, with a sci-fi edge. 

The movie begins with a scene which unfortunately, due to sound issues that seem to chase us throughout the entire movie, is nearly completely useless from a storytelling standpoint. What we can gather, however, is that there are spaceships on their way to Earth – their arrival being timed out to about three months from now. Of course, any alien life force wouldn’t make it easy on us puny earthlings, and they make a point of showing off their firepower before a jump cut (and an opening credit sequence).

Dr. Carson (David Shaw) is a well known but controversial therapist, working on a group program for teens and young adults. His program is hardcore, but has great results. He has patients as broadly ranging as a child-star heroin addict, a young person coming to terms with their trans identity, a sex addict, and a neo-nazi. These patients and more make up his group therapy sessions, which, as you can imagine, makes for an explosive experience. Dr. Carson’s program is thorough, and includes individual therapy for each patient as well as group activities. He’s kind, gentle, and incredibly knowledgeable. He’s the kind of person anyone would want as a therapist. But for whatever reason, he has a television journalist jumping down his throat, trying to debunk his program and reveal it as a scam. Don’t worry though – this sub-plot is basically completely forgotten after the first act of the film.

Here’s where the review gets tricky – I am bound not to spoil anything. So let’s leave the synopsis portion of the review, and leave it with this – the teen drama portion of this film takes up far too much of what is supposed to be an alien invasion story. I nearly forgot there was an extraterrestrial subplot. There’s plenty of therapeutic breakthroughs, and lots of incredible work from Shaw as Dr. Carson, but it’s almost as if it belongs in another movie. Maybe the production team forgot they were making a sci-fi movie until two thirds of the way through filming. Truly, it’s that disjointed. And by the time the “alien” type creature does show up, it disappoints. Majorly. The purple neon light used to repeatedly signal its arrival would be more successful than what we have on the screen.

As mentioned in the beginning of this review, sound is a major issue for INVASION EARTH. There are entire scenes that are nearly inaudible or incomprehensible. Audio from clothing and props is louder than the dialogue, and while I hate to say it, the accents of everyone involved certainly add to the confusion.

If I forget that INVASION EARTH is supposed to be a sci-fi flick, I really enjoy it. Lop the first few minutes, and the last 15 or so, off of the film, I could really enjoy it as a drama. Every character is fleshed out and developed… just not in a way that helps us fight off an alien attack that basically never comes. It’s a frustrating movie, with a frustrating lack of direction, that could have been so much better.

4/10 stars

INVASION EARTH
RATING:R
Runtime:1 h 46m
Directed By:
James Twyman
Written By:
James Twyman