Saturday, January 28, 2012

Night of the Comet Review

More 2010's movies should be like Night of the Comet. Not completely - it's a little cheesy, had a low budget, and the 80s costuming is hysterical. But NotC tells a new, fun story with different leads than we're used to. It doesn't try to be deep, complicated, or set up a sequel, and neither insults the audience nor does cheap things to rope them in.

I've gotten too used to big budget and small budget failures. I've gotten too used to "tried too hard" failures and "didn't try hard enough" failures. I was happy to look to the 80s for something just middle-of-the-road, and it's to NotC's credit that I don't need to give it a long review. The story:

A nice, deep narrator's voice tells us that Earth is about to be visited by a comet. It also says that the comet was last seen when the dinosaurs died out, so we can already tell that things will turn out badly. As LA is preparing to watch the light show, our hero, the 20-ish Regina, goes about her job at a movie-theater.

The guy she messes around with wants her to sleep with him in the projection room. A quick call home reveals that her sister, Samantha, is being forced to attend their stepmother's comet party. Dad, a special forces member, is off liberating a Latin American nation.

The slice-of-life start is perfect. It establishes the public spectacle and the characters nicely. As Regina gets some action with her buddy, the stepmom and her guests watch the celestial object. Then a storm starts, and rain falls.

It isn't long before Reg realizes that most everyone who watched the comet turned into a fine red dust. Others, tho, became semi-mindless murderers. The pic follows Reg as she looks for Samantha and faces deranged survivors and other monsters.

What's nice is that the leads are different and fun. Two females try to survive an apocalypse and it's nice to see the dynamic between the sisters. Reg favors silly 80s jackets, while Sam runs around in her cheerleading costume, but Notc isn't exploitative. Best of all their dad taught them to fight and protect themselves. It's great to see this odd pair confront threats instead of screaming for help.

The action scenes are simple and "good enough." So are the peripheral characters, and the way the plots play out. Night of the Comet is a nostalgic 80s horror/action film that stands out because (a) it's competently put together and (b) it's different. All this sets it apart from its contemporary competition, as well as many recent pix from every genre. NotC won't blow you away, but it won't leave you feeling disappointed.

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