“Kids vs. Aliens” – A Chaotic, Over the Top Ride with Lots of Gore and Goo

With a title like Kids vs. Aliens, the movie pretty much sells itself and tells you exactly what you’re in for.  Both in terms of plot and tone.  Shudder’s latest exclusive movie is a spinoff from one of the segments in V/H/S/2, but you fear not if you haven’t seen that.  This movie very much stands on its own merits, for both better and worse…

Rush to Grow Up
The movie opens with the most chaotic energy you’ve ever seen with a group of kids making an amateur movie featuring dinosaurs, aliens, sword fights, and everything in between.  However, when a group of older teenagers barges in on their shooting, the standard bullying begins and one of the kid’s older sisters who’s acting in the movie suddenly remembers she wants to be cool and fit in with the teens.

Played by Phoebe Rex, Samantha is torn between her loyalties to her little brother and her desire to appear grown up among her peers.

In order to prove how cool she is, she winds up throwing a party while her parents are away.  Typical teenage hijinks ensue as the boy she likes turns out to be a complete jerk.  But all of this is interrupted when aliens show up and the titular kids have to fight for their survival in an array of gross out humor and practical effects.

Epitome of Mania
Much like the vignette this was based on (which was entirely shot via a camera attached to a dog), this has a similar chaotic shaky cam style.  Trading the dog for a drone, it feels very voyeuristic at times, especially when the kids are spying on people.  The original segment from V/H/S 2 was also entirely found footage.

This sort of jumps back and forth between the two styles, but isn’t shot differently enough to differentiate them.

This movie leans on that from time to time, but goes with traditional cinematography for a lot of it, and honestly, that’s when it feels the most strange.  As if it still wants to have the same over the top, chaotic energy and shaky cam, but it doesn’t always work when it’s not POV or found footage.

All that said, it is a lot of fun.  The kids can be a bit annoying, but to anyone who’s ever been the weird kid into weird stuff, it’s easy to relate.  It’s also fun to see that they pretty much end up in the very same movie they were trying so cheaply to make at the beginning.

This is all complimented with some solid practical makeup and gore effects.  The aliens themselves are actually pretty scary, just in their intensity and animalistic brutality.  There’s plenty of goo to go around in a movie that feels like it’s treading into Evil Dead territory in terms of gross out, just swapping Deadites for aliens.

It’s a great movie to watch while eating!

Kids vs. Adults
This movie certainly knows what it wants to do in terms of style, tone, and over the top energy.  However, in a strange way, it also feels like it’s not sure who its target audience is. Granted, just because something features kids as main characters doesn’t mean it’s a kids movie (look no further than Stephen King’s “It”).

But this movie’s sense of humor feels a bit all over the place.  It boasts corny and goofy jokes that feel aimed at kids that most adults wouldn’t laugh at.  But it’s also filled with R-rated levels of violence and swearing.  So it begs the question, is this a kids movie infused with adult content, or was this meant to be a typical horror film with an aged down sense of humor?

When left unsupervised, kids can get very out of control…

The former feels more likely, in that just because swearing isn’t “appropriate” in kids movies, it by no means suggests that kids don’t swear.  This feels like a movie that’s (somewhat) aimed at kids, and supposed to feel like something that their parents don’t want them watching.

Kids vs. Aliens isn’t trying to weave some complicated plot or compelling character dynamics.  It’s in your face, extreme, and gleefully gooey and gory in every way.  With a runtime of barely an hour and 15 minutes, it sticks around just long enough before its charm and gimmick wear off.  And it makes for a fun watch!

What do you think of Kids vs. Aliens?  What other segments from the V/H/S franchise would you like to see turned into feature films? Let us know in the comments!

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