Extinction hits Netflix on July 28th.
By I. Simon
A disturbing trend is emerging in the movie industry. If a studio has no faith in their film, they’ll sell the distribution rights to Netflix. Paramount was the first offender with the abysmal Cloverfield Paradox, and they did it again with the international rights for Alex Garland’s highly ambitious (and exceptional) Annihilation because executives feared a box office failure. Universal has now joined the club by handing off Extinction. Sitting down to watch the sci-fi horror flick, I feared the worst. It wasn’t terrible, but Extinction is merely a forgettable, generic, and uninspired movie that will be buried in Netflix’s catalog.
Extinction is director Ben Young’s first outing in big-budget filmmaking, and it shows. Sure, there are moments of tension that feel real, along with some occasionally decent production design and some good cinematography, but the direction is for the most part bland. Young doesn’t bring anything new to the table – both narratively and visually – and the production value, save for the exceptions mentioned above, are subpar. Lighting is often terrible, editing awful, sound design unimpressive, and score forgettable at best and horrible at worst. Worst of all and most noticeable, the VFX are horrendous.
Where the movie lost me was with its script. The film has a promising setup, but then it turns into a cliche alien apocalypse. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is stale, the narrative lacks depth, and that the characters are incredibly underwritten. Granted, Michael Peña’s performance is engaging, and Lizzy Caplan’s is even better, but their star power isn’t enough to make their arcs compelling in the slightest.
Unless you want 95 minutes of background noise while doing something else, this is not worth your time. I don’t have much to say, but then again, neither did Extinction.
I give Extinction a C.