Stranded (1987) – Review

1 Star

Stranded wants to be all things to all movie-goers. It is Starman meets Cocoon crossed with Critters and E.T. If that sounds contrived, awkward, and more than a bit odd, well that is because Stranded is all this and much less. A cranky teenage girl and her protective grandmother are visited by alien’s during a lighting storm in a small, rural farm community. The two women are taken hostage by a group of non-violent alien visitors seeking refuge from a stalking enemy. Before long the police get involved and the situation turns into a stand-off, complete with negotiations and sneaky tactics. Unbeknownst to the creatures and police officers is the presence of an extra terrestrial assassin bent on killing the aliens. This premise could possibly make for an exciting short film or perhaps an intriguing episode of The X-Files, in present form it is cheap second rate genre fodder from the opportunistic New Line Cinema.

The alien makeup is largely unconvincing and lame, the dialogue is stilted, and the story is worthy of a MST:3k work over. My favorite bit, “I do not know what that is but it has tits and a ray-gun,” somehow this bomb manages to make a 88 minute picture feel like a two hour experience. The inept screenplay shoehorns in a racial subplot regarding hicks on a revenge quest and the black sheriff standing up to the mob. Joe Morton (too good for this type of schlock), heads a cast with considerable talent, including Iona Skye and Maureen O’Sullivan. May be worthy of a look to fans of camp, if only for the strangely dealt with sexual tension between humans and outer worldly creatures. Things liven up momentarily when the action transplants to the aliens home planet, but alas even that brief interlude is ruined by short sighted direction and over-editing. If you ever wanted to see a movie about a hostage stand off between local cops and aliens holed up in a house, then your wishes have been granted. You have also been warned.

Director: Fleming B. Fuller
Stars: Ione Skye, Maureen O’Sullivan, Joe Morton

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