(director: Nicholas Humphries; screenwriters: Anthony Artibello, Kevin C. Bjerkness; cinematographer: Isaac Elliott-Fisher; editor: Michael Cunningham; music: Oliver Wickham; cast: James Gallanders (John Brighton),  Daniel Fathers (Perry Bulmer),  Deragh Campbell (Sera), Alex Woods (Zack Chase), Konima Parkinson-Jones  (Rhonda Woods), Caroline Raynaud (Alex Gauthier), Justin James Remeikis (Military Subordinate); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Anthony Artibello/James Milligan/Jason Ross Jallet; Saban; 2019)

“Without the little green men, only all the genre’s cliches remain.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

If you ever wanted to know what dreck looks like, check out this convoluted sci-fi film-a locked in a room alien abduction film. But without the little green men, only all the genre’s cliches remain. Its aesthetics are unappealing, its execution is unimpressive and the acting is underwhelming.

Canadian filmmaker Nicholas Humphries (“Death Do Us Part”/”Mermaid’s Song”), a compiler of shorts, directs this indie downer feature as if it should have been a short. First time screenwriters Anthony Artibello & Kevin C. Bjerkness introduce a weird premise that lacks intelligence, coherence and wit. But, at least, it’s weird.

Five strangers awaken from a long sleep to find themselves kidnapped and locked on board an alien spaceship floating through space. The tortured souls find themselves unable to move, as they’re held in place by a large, slimy black tentacle that prods them into bringing back bad memories and induces crying spells for some of the girlies. The leader of the group is a smug researcher from the U.S. Department of Defense, named John Brighton (James Gallanders). He seems to be genuinely concerned for the vic experimental passengers and also if he will ever get his rep back after this major screw-up. He diligently is working with the troubled group, from home base, to get them free of the tentacles and to reassure them they’re in good hands under his leadership.

The five vics include: rock star Zack (Alex Woods), single mom black high school teacher with a daughter Rhonda (Konima Parkinson-Jones), tough-talking English felon Perry (Daniel Fathers), French speaking, drug addicted sex worker Alex (Caroline Raynaud), and the key figure of the group is the mumbling and confused young woman named Sera (Deragh Campbell).
We are left wondering why the aliens captured them, what common link they might have that can take them home, where are they being taken to and; of course, how will things turn out.

I couldn’t get into this messy film with its bad dialogue, all its banalities, its uninteresting characters and with nothing of consequence happening for long stretches of time. So I watched it on cruise-control.

Project Ithaca (2019)