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Earthling

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Earthling DVD and 7 inch Soundtrack on white Vinyl
Special Features
Filmmaker Commentary
Trailers
Behind the Scenes

Review

A spiky ball (resembling a large stress ball or a naval mine or maybe a seed pod from a sweetgum tree) drifts in space towards a space station. The three-man crew of the station picks up the strange object. One of the astronauts, Sean (Matt Socia), comes in contact with it; a strange pulse rings out, instantly killing the other two astronauts. Sean survives the encounter, but returns to Earth in a comatose state. Back on Earth there is a temporary brown-out that triggers Judith (Rebecca Spence) to suffer an epileptic seizure, which results in a car accident. Judith wakes up in the hospital, with no recollection of what happened. The doctors change her anti-seizure medication, assuming that she has grown immune to her previous dosage, and send Judith home. (This is around when Earthling begins to feel more like a rich existential character study ala John Cassavete s A Woman Under the Influence or Michelangelo Antonioni s L avventura rather than a sci-fi flick.) Distracted and confused by very vivid dreams (or suppressed memories) of a young girl in a swimming pool and also of the astronaut who we now know as Sean; Judith, a respected school teacher, begins to breakdown mentally. She is slowly drifting away from the person Judith used to be, doing things that she would have never done before the accident. Her devoted husband, Stephen (Chris Doubek), becomes frustrated with Judith s sudden inability to communicate with him. Is she emotionally scarred from her recent miscarriage (presumably from the car accident) or is Judith stressed about something? (OK. It is my duty to warn you that from here on out there are spoilers. Many of them! Honestly, I could not figure out a way to discuss Earthling at the depth at which the story deserves to be observed without spoiling the plot.) Judith no longer knows who she is and I mean this literally, as even her mirror image appears foreign to her. She has developed strange bumps on her forehead and her skin peels off when she scratches it. Water mesmerizes her and Judith seems to be able to create waves in liquids merely by focusing on it. It is not long before Judith discovers a strange group of people who appear to be following her. At first she does not recognize them; however, it turns out that they share many of the same traits as Judith seizures, strange bumps on their foreheads, vivid dreams yet these kindred spirits seem to have a pretty good understanding of what is going on. We soon discover that the brownout rebooted Judith and her rediscovered brethren, reminding them of their true identities and purpose. That spiky pod from space is somehow linked to them, as are the strange slugs, as is Sean. You guessed it that spiky pod is their way back home. This concept of pod people invading Earth harkens back to Don Siegel s Invasion of the Body Snatchers [there were multiple remakes, as well as Shaun Cassidy s underappreciated short-lived television series Invasion]. The difference with Earthling is that the humans never become aware of the presence of the pod people the aliens have assimilated into society convincing even themselves that they are human. Judith and her fellow parasitic alien friends are not on Earth to cause harm or steal its precious resources; they are on Earth to experience the human condition to experience love. Unfortunately, since this alien species cannot mate with humans their time on Earth is limited. I truly understand why some people might be confused (and frustrated) by the slow and quiet nature of Earthling. The pacing, atmosphere and tone are reminiscent of Nicholas Roeg s The Man Who Fell to Earth and Andrei Tarkovsky s Solaris both are films that sci-fi fans love to hate, probably because they play in stark contrast to the kinetic-pacing and overabundant special effects inherent to most sci-fi films. --Smells Like Screen Spirit

With Earthling, fi --Dallas Morning News

With Earthling, filmmaker Clay Liford delivers a pseudoscience-fiction drama short on detail but heavy on brooding atmosphere, seasoned with a strong dose of David Cronenberg-style body horror and a little Invasion of the Body Snatchers ex-paranoia (the 70s remake). Produced and filmed independently in Dallas on a shoestring budget, the movie stars Rebecca Spence as Judith, a high school teacher dealing with a fading marriage following a tragic miscarriage. Already distant and detached from the world, Judith begins experiencing seizures and dealing with the appearance of two large bumps on her forehead; this coincides with a mysterious encounter involving a three-man crew of a space station and an extraterrestrial object. Only one of the astronauts (Sean, played by Matt Socia) survives, returning to Earth in a coma. Judith begins having recurring dreams of childhood memories and of Sean, and is on the verge of a breakdown until a new student named Abby (Amelia Turner) arrives. Abby is part of a small group of others who are likewise affected and seem to know more than they let on; their veiled motives make Judith hesitant to trust them. Earthling is a movie that plays its cards so extremely close to its chest that little can be said about it without giving too much away which is something of a paradox, since its pacing and tone are so understated that the story is often impenetrable. The indirect dialogue and selective editing are intended to imply the details rather than stating them outright, but the sparseness of what the audience is given creates a frustrating puzzle. The movie is anchored by a superb cast that includes veteran character actors Peter Greene (Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects) and William Katt (The Greatest American Hero). It is the bravely committed Spence who carries the film with a performance that ably captures her character s fragile state. Liford s cinematic influences are on display, from the murky pacing that recalls Andrei Tarkovsky s science-fiction films to the slimy B-grade slugs and psychic assaults straight from Cronenberg s Rabid and Scanners, respectively. It s the sort of thing that will frustrate or infuriate the average moviegoer, but Liford clearly isn t aiming for that crowd. His is a more meditative work that, though sometimes unfocused, is nevertheless thought-provoking. --Dallas Morning News


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Rebecca Spence, Peter Greene, William Katt, Matt Socia, Amelia Turner
  • Directors: Clay Liford
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Studio: Aviation Cinemas Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2012
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0096UG82E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,985 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Jones on September 12, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I wasn't sure what to expect, but I have to admit I fell for this movie. It works at a different pace than typical mainstream action sci-fi, but it builds in a way that's intelligently layered and completely compelling. The director has the great sense to tease information about the characters in a way that had my mind working overtime to put the pieces together, and while I'll admit that I was the tiniest bit confused at points, I was mostly just satisfied to have gotten a mental workout!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bernie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 18, 2013
Format: DVD
Interesting premise. A mysterious object appears from space. As it approaches earth it causes a disturbance. The result is some people have strange dreams. However this is not a 50's type sci-fi. It is more of a psychological thriller where high school teacher Judith (Rebecca Spence) and a few others must find out who they really are on the inside. As we watch this movie we to travel the same path and may find out who we really are.

Looking at one line reviews of this movie you will come away with totally different visions of what you are about to watch. The movie gives too many dimensions and allows the viewer to fixate on just one or two of them. What may appear to be slow to one viewer is methodical to another. What may look unduly artsy to one viewer is the only way to portray the story in the time and media given.

The actual execution of this movie includes drugs and weird relationships. I cannot help but think that they are trying to disseminate more than just the story. If they are I then missed it and do not have time to pick it up.
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I get ticked when I see a movie like this and I don't understand everything that's going on because I'm not sure if the film maker did a poor job in relating it, or maybe the lower production values caused me to not hear certain key elements, or maybe I simply didn't get it. Whichever it is, this seemed like a really cool concept and movie but I couldn't make total sense of it.

Here's the scoop. A joint American/Russian space station is approached by a large-ish organism that looks like a bacteria. Next thing you know a few select people on earth are experiencing odd events and begin to grow horn-like protrusions on their foreheads. The heroine, a teacher, is approached by one of her students and is brought into a small circle of people and enlightened as to what this is all about.

Watching this immediately reminded me a Shane Carruth's "The Color Upstream" in that it is a very elusive telling of a science fiction story that is almost entirely writing and acting. The few special effects used are there to further the story and are anything but spectacular. I really needed to focus to gather everything that was happening. I got the overall gist of it but the details escaped me. Like "The Color Upstream" this is plainly lensed with a very peculiar soundtrack. I don't, in any way, mean this in a derogatory manner. The shots here are framed well and are made to set up the next shot well. It just doesn't have a lot of razzle dazzle. And the soundtrack serves the movie well. It's a lot of soft, undulating notes and sounds. It lends an unease to everything. The acting ranges from good to very good with William Katt and Peter Greene as big surprises. Rebecca Spence, I thought, did a fine job in the lead role.

This is a bit better than the three stars I gave it. I liked it a lot but my frustration level was too high to enjoy it more. If you're into more left of center science fiction, then check this one out.
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GOOD SCI-FI EFFORT...IF YOU CAN SWALLOW THE PREMISE OF THE ALIEN "GOLF BALL FROM SPACE"...HA... FUNNY IN SOME POINTS AND ENTERTAINING AT OTHER PARTS...ANOTHER JOURNEY INTO THE "WHAT IF" DEPARTMENT OF SCI-FI WITHOUT MANY SPECIAL EFFECTS..(DON'T KNOW WHETHER THAT WOULD HAVE HELPED) BUT A FUN TRIP ANYHOW I GUESS..//..TKS, CHARLIE R., LASVGSNV
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashland Viscosi on September 12, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I first discovered EARTHLING one day when I was searching for science fiction films on iTunes. That week, it happened to have a higher rating than TRANSFORMERS, so naturally, it caught my eye. I purchased it almost instantly and watched it later that evening. I'm glad to see it's been released on DVD since my computer screen didn't quite give it justice. EARTHLING was a refreshing watch since it wasn't loaded with cheesy computer graphics like most science fiction films of today. The plot has a slower pace, but once it grabbed me, I was hooked. I'd recommend this film for those who miss the days when science fiction was story driven, not almost exclusively computer animated graphics.
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