Written and directed by Jason Eisener, co-written by John Davies, an all-time rager of a teen house party turns to terror when aliens attack, forcing two warring siblings to band together to survive the night. Starring: Dominic Mariche, Phoebe Rex, Calem MacDonald, Asher Grayson, Ben Tector, Emma Vickers and Isaiah Fortune.
Straight away when Kids vs. Aliens opens you’re hit with that fantastic nostalgia, it may be set in today’s world but it’s taking its cues from classic, cheesy horror of the 1980s. The style, tone and its general can-do, home-made attitude are all a great throwback to an age where horror didn’t feel the need to take itself seriously and could just have fun. The style is almost reminiscent of The Babysitter but less of the violence and more of the creative kids fight for survival.
However, there are some ways in which its throwback style don’t do it any favours, particularly in using the stereotypical bully character. He hits the cliché too hard which when paired with Calem MacDonald’s extremely over the top performance, it’s just too much of what we’ve seen for years and needs refreshing. Especially when it comes to the bad boy seducing the nice girl element, it’s a shame to still see stories of women falling for that nonsense so easily. They may make up for it later in the story but it feels like there were other routes to get to the same point.
Its strongest aspect is its leading band of kids, played by Dominic Mariche, Asher Grayson and Ben Tector. They’re what gives Kids vs. Aliens that feel of adventure and the tone of beloved films from your childhood. Each of them adds to the wily, creative and energetic tone, while Phoebe Rex then rounds them out with the sibling love-hate relationship and constant teen desire to fit in. The four of them together are fun to watch, creating a ragtag bunch of misfits who love making home-movies and wrestling.
Kids vs. Aliens brings back a bit of good old-fashioned 80s horror and a sense of adventure. It captures the feel of having a good time, not taking itself too seriously and getting creative. It may also fall into a few of the classic traps that come with 80s cinema but thankfully they don’t distract too much. The leading quartet do a great job of bringing a naïve charm and resilience, using plenty of ingenuity to face their invaders. It’s only a shame they didn’t actually make it more kid-friendly.