Invasion Earth Image

Invasion Earth

By Josiah Teal | August 13, 2020

When an alien invasion interrupts a six-month rehab course, it’s up to an unlikely group of survivors to face their inner demons and visitors from beyond the stars in James Twyman’s Invasion Earth. With an ensemble cast, the film takes audiences through heated group therapy sessions and troubled pasts as the patients begin to notice strange occurrences around the rehab facility. Presented by Steven M. Smith, this sci-fi movie seeks to explore social issues while balancing the question, “Are we truly alone in the universe?”

World-renowned psychologist Dr. Carson (David Shaw), now works in a rundown rehab facility, helping his patients and avoiding negative press from TV personality and nearly mustache-twirling villain Pearson (Jon-Paul Gates). The first therapy sessions involve Vicky (Phoebe Delikoura), a famous pop star dealing with substance abuse, sex-addicted Kelly (Charlotte Gould), and Derek (Darren James King), a proud neo-Nazi.

Each patient of Dr. Carson’s brings a different social issue into the story as the film attempts to tackle transphobia, drug addiction, depression, eating disorders, racism, failed potential, and qualms with the British media all before a massive alien invasion. If this sounds like a lot to chew on at once, it is. Meanwhile, the alien invasion is hinted but does not occur until the last twenty minutes of the film.

“…an alien invasion interrupts a six-month rehab course…”

Invasion Earth is really well-intentioned in trying to deal with a multitude of social issues. However, the execution often varies, as the addressing of these subjects ranges from clumsy to problematic. The film’s attempts to deal with racism and depression are quickly dispensed with, as characters even acknowledge the cliché or bad advice in each situation. For a movie titled Invasion Earth, the vast majority of the film is spent dealing with each patient’s personal issues rather than setting up the sci-fi epic hinted in the opening. Due to these rapid changes in motivations, tone, and structure, the movie often comes across more as Twyman’s attempts to solve world problems, take shots at the British music industry, and share his negative opinions in a Pierce Morgan parody rather than a cohesive film.

Invasion Earth feels like a bait-and-switch about forty-minutes in. I am a huge fan of even the cheesiest of sci-fi adventures. Rather than getting either of those as the title and opening of the film suggested, I found myself watching a movie with little structure beyond stating woes of society and vomiting exposition. The vast majority of the film did not even require aliens and left me wondering, “What do aliens have to do with any of this?”

Many of the character motivations are overexplained, so many of the sci-fi elements go completely unexplained and unmotivated by anything beyond committing to the title. The film is not focused enough to be a drama about addiction, not nearly engaging enough to be a fun sci-fi epic, and far too problematic to be riffed by the likes of Mystery Science Theater.

Invasion Earth (2016)

Directed and Written: James Twyman

Starring: Steven M. Smith, Charlotte Gould, Phoebe Delikoura, Nigel Thijs, David Shaw, Sammy Johnston, Cameron Bell, Darren James King, etc.

Movie score: 2/10

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"…did not even require aliens..."

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