In the near future, a man is left sleepless because of harrowing nightmares of an alien invasion. As his nightmares become reality, will his experience be able to save his family from (drum roll…) Extinction?
After Universal deemed the film’s original theatrical release day of January unnecessary, Netflix picked up the rights to bring Australian filmmaker Ben Young’s intriguing yet ultimately conventional sci-fi thriller Extinction to the home.
Michael Peña stars as Peter, a family man whose visions of the destruction of earth are tearing him away from his wife Alice (Lizzy Caplan) and daughters Hanna (Amelia Crouch) and Lucy (Erica Tremblay) until one day, capsules and hellfire reign down from above as humanoid like creatures seek to wipe out every living being on the planet below. From the start, Extinction has a distinct stench of other alien invasion flops such as Skyline or Battle: Los Angeles with a predictable set up and central narrative. However, that changes (albeit a little bit too late) when the plot takes a risky u-turn which thankfully saves the film from falling completely on its face.
Even though the screenplay isn’t the strongest, our lead cast at least commits to giving some solid performances. It was a fresh turn of pace to see Michael Peña, an actor predominately known for his comedic roles, to try something new in a lead action performance. Lizzy Caplan was unfortunately relegated to a supportive role in a film in which one would have loved to have seen her been given a chance to truly shine as she has done in her previous works.
As far as presentation goes, it is clear to see that there were budget limitations. At various points the CGI seemed unfinished and rough around the edges, although fortunately scenes that required large amounts of computer effects were used sparingly as practical effects for the aliens were chosen over CGI in order to keep proceedings as realistic as it was deemed necessary.
It is easy in most circumstances to compare Extinction to some of the other Netflix Original films of the same genre, such as The Cloverfield Paradox or TAU. If we were to place this particular film in amongst its peers, it would sit quite happily in the middle. However, that is not a fair judgement as although Extinction would probably not have faired all that well at the box office (possibly foreseen by Universal back in January 2018), one is sure that plenty of audiences will find some enjoyment from this small screen sci-fi tale that tries something a little different to the norm.