HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
Astronaut
Peanut Butter Falcon, The
Ip Man 4: The Finale
Card, The
Bloodshot
Intruder, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
   
 
  At First Light Star-crossed
Year: 2018
Director: Jason Stone
Stars: Stefanie Scott, Théodore Pellerin, Saïd Taghmaoui, Percy Hynes White, Kate Burton, Janet-Laine Green, Jahmil French, James Wotherspoon, Tony Hart, Steve Love, Kristin Booth, Dana Fradkin, Josh Cruddas, Sean Devine, Ingrid Dion
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: At an outdoor party sullen teenager Sean (Théodore Pellerin) is less than thrilled to run into his ex-girlfriend Alex (Stefanie Scott). So he leaves. Later that night, swimming in the lake with her new beau Alex sees strange lights in the sky. When her boyfriend resurfaces, Alex has disappeared. A few hours later Cal (Saïd Taghmaoui), a rogue scientist formerly employed by the U.S. government, discovers a shellshocked Alex wandering half-naked along the road. Alex contacts the one person she trusts, which is Sean who brings her to the house he shares with his sickly Grandma (Janet-Laine Green) and unruly kid brother Oscar (Percy Hynes White). Only to find aliens bestowed Alex with amazing paranormal abilities she uses to cure Grandma, make electronic devices go haywire and float objects around the room. Before long Sean and Alex are on the run from government agents driven to unearth what exactly the extraterrestrial forces have in store for the beleagured girl.

While not entirely successful in its aims, At First Light is a pleasing attempt at a more cerebral and character-driven young adult sci-fi thriller. South African born writer-producer-director Jason Stone, who previously made the short film that inspired it This Is The End (2013) and the Susan Sarandon-led murder mystery The Calling (2014), concocts a premise not too dissimilar from the more celebrated Chronicle (2012). Yet rather than go the superhero action route the plot skews closer to an indie fusion of Starman (1984) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) by way of early Richard Linklater. A low-key opening act starts as a grungy drama about delinquent teens, establishing Sean's troubled yet defiantly functional domestic situation. Stone exhibits a deft hand when it comes to grounding fantastical events in earthy reality and building an ominous atmosphere through inspired use of light and shadow, sinister scenery (which include stunning aerial shots that track characters from a godlike or UFO's point of view, their mundane lives dwarfed by some grand cosmic intelligence) and subtle Hitchcockian background details (keep an eye on the birds).

The main thrust of the plot concerns Alex trying to figure out her powers and purpose within an unfathomable alien scheme, gradually discovering her altered existence could prove lethal both for herself and Sean. Freed from the usual traumatic soap opera backstory, At First Light establishes Alex as a more complex heroine than is the norm in Y.A. genre films. However, despite a solid lead in former Disney Channel star turned Blumhouse horror staple Stefanie Scott, the script only allows Alex to see-saw from sullen to somnambulant, giving the viewer little sense of who she was as a person in comparison to the detail heaped on Sean. Consequently Alex's tragic transformation lacks dramatic weight and leaves us wondering why this story is told largely through Sean's point of view and not her's. While Stone's foregrounding of character development over special effects remains laudable, the story is somewhat diffuse and at times too leisurely for its own good. Kate Burton as a government scientist is the closest thing the film has to an antagonist yet does not arrive until an hour into a ninety minute running time. Nevertheless, for all its deficiencies, At First Light remains curiously compelling, at times even moving, throughout. Enlivened by sporadic sci-fi set-pieces and a range of intriguing ideas, even if those are not developed beyond a surface level. It functions ultimately as a story of literal star-crossed love.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 424 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: