For anybody who grew up in the late 70's like myself, this film will feel like a time warp. Not only is the movie set in 1979 but it really feels like 1979 while you watch as if you had been thrown back in time. The direction is pure Spielberg of the era down to the music. The whole film makes you feel like a little kid again, watching some monster movie with your parents as you Ford Pinto waited outside and popcorn was 1$. The movie oozes nostalgia.
The plot is Goonies meets ET, if ET were big and pissed and ate people. Made for only 50 million, this action packed and emotional film drives home the goods and then some. Starring no one you've ever heard of for the most part, the plot centers around a group of kids making a zombie movie for a local festival on a Super 8 camera. Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) loses his mother as the film begins in an industrial accident. Four moths later, he and his buddies are making a zombie film when a girl Alice (Elle Fanning) both Joe and his director buddy Charles (Riley Griffiths) like, agree to be in it. While filming a scene at a local train station, the train derails in a spectacular fashion and something big and nasty escapes. After the Air Force shows up, all hell breaks loose as the thing that got out, wrecks havoc.
The best parts of this films are surprisingly not the monster or the damage it causes, ala Godzilla, albeit smaller, but the emotional heft brought by the young actors. Alice and Joe have their own crossed paths as Alice's dad was indirectly responsible for Joe's mother's death. Both of their dads hate one another as a Romeo and Juliet love story emerges. It works very well and both show a real future in acting.
Joe was a lot like myself at the time. I too dabbled in horror make up from the time I was his age as well as scale models. It was kind of fun recognizing all the paints and make up he used were the exact same as the stuff I had. Talk about retro.
The younger generation may not like this movie, as seen on some message boards, for being too retro, too Spielbergian. Boo Hoo. This is everything film making should be: Spectacle, emotional and well worth watching.
4 stars out of 5