Our friend Julian Richings gives a tour de force performance in the first release from Anchor Bay this week. The film itself, Ejecta, is a bit of hit and miss b-movie affair, but Richings, himself, is perfectly on point giving his all, and elevating every scene he’s in, which is practically all of them.
Bill Cassidy (Richings) lives in a self-imposed exile, interacting with the world at a removed distance, through his blog, where he shares his thoughts, experiences, and theories about extra-terrestrial life, and our contact with it.
Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold) is a young would-be filmmaker, fascinated by Cassidy’s story, and when he believes he’s been contacted by Cassidy via email, inviting him to meet at his remote farmhouse, Joe sets off to document the entire thing.
This part of the film works fairly well, all because Riching imbues his character with such a believability, Cassidy is resigned to his fate, and wishes it would all end, and knows it won’t. It’s here that we learn of his history, which he slowly, almost grudgingly shares, until it just pours out of him.
We also learn that a recent coronal ejection will impact the atmosphere that night, and it should give a great light show, but Cassidy believes it will bring something else as well. And he’s right. A ship crashes nearby, and Joe and Bill spend a terrifying evening on the run from the craft’s survivor (and Joe keeps the light on his camera switched on the entire time, like the alien wouldn’t be able to see it?!).
But that’s just the beginning of their troubles. The film cuts back and forth moving through time, so we know that Bill more or less survives his encounter, because he’s been grabbed by a task force, overseen by the decidely off-balance Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle), and watch for it, a brief appearance by Orphan Black’s Ari Millen.
Here’s where the film stumbles, all of the stuff in the interrogation room just feels off, the look and texture of the set, and the film itself, just doesn’t really seem to pop come to life, while everything around that, the documentary Sullivan is shooting, works for what it is, b-movie sci-fi horror. And those are the parts of the film I liked best, and although there’s not a lot new being shared, Richings makes it incredibly watchable because he just runs the gamut of terrified emotions, subtly haunted, tired, pained, scared, and hunted. But we also get a glimpse at the obsession that drives Cassidy as well.
I also had a bit of trouble with the armed agents moving through the forest hunting Cassidy, Sullivan and the alien… Sure, I expect they’d be scared, but they’re also professional and trained, and that didn’t come across so much.
If you can work around the interrogation sequences, though I do love Tobin’s fate, especially after she realizes it, then this is worth a look for Richings alone.
Ejecta is available today from Anchor Bay.