Movie Review: 2021’s Alien Invasion Fillm ‘Risen’ Is Left Lacking

August 16, 2021

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]

Writer-director Eddie Arya’s sci-fi thriller Risen will land On Demand later this August. We got the chance to check it out and here’s what we thought.
Starring Nicole Schalmo, Jack Campbell, and Dominic Stone, Risen begins with a family sitting down to dinner before suddenly the house begins to shake as something crashes into the nearby field. This is the first contact with something otherworldly. The film then skips ahead to find the girl,  as an adult and a doctor who the military assigns to a case similar to the one from her childhood. An entire town is dead, or are they? The trouble really begins when the dead begin to rise as the aliens take over their bodies.
Risen starts off with a good pace but two scenes in, it slows down like it’s stuck in quicksand. And it stays that way with long lulls between the action throughout the entire movie. Save for a handful of scenes, the entire film is “meh” at best.
This movie has another problem. There really isn’t anything likable about its characters, for example, the lead character is dull and seems detached like she’s just going through the motions. I mean it’s the end of the world for god’s sake. Where’s the emotion?
Oh, they’ve got weird trees that kill whole towns? That’s a little different I guess. But it’s a tree, cut the fuckers down, nuke ’em, something, and it’s problem solved.
I expected more from an aliens invasion movie.  I mean how many times have we seen a movie where human’s bodies are taken over as hosts for aliens who want to take over Earth? And the movie’s transformed human hosts really aren’t anything special. Okay, they are pale. That’s it.  There could have been so many other things done to bring the characters and the story to life. The reliance on the characters seeing the dead rise is meant to trigger something in us, in think, however, there’s not much connection there. We are not given reasons to feel something for these hosts. They’re just bodies.
I was left with more questions than answers, like why are entire towns being taken over but the lead character survives as a kid? Why don’t they kill the infected? Why don’t they just mow down these trees that are emitting the gas? Why isn’t the world fighting back? I understand we are meant to have a suspension of disbelief, but seriously? That only goes so far.
Throughout watching Risen I kept getting the feeling I’ve seen things in the story time and time again, human hosts, alien invasions, etc… I will say this, the twist at the end was a nice choice and was a bit unexpected, but it doesn’t save the film for me. It’s not completely terrible, but it’s not good either. But judge it for yourself, Risen opens in select theaters and arrives On Demand on August 20, 2021, from Vertical Entertainment.

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