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Blu-ray Review

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Starring: Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison and Rhiannon Fish
Distributor: Altitude


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 21 January 2019

When a small Australian town is caught up in an alien invasion, the townsfolk band together to fight back...

Occupation (2018. 1 hr, 59 min, 23 sec) is an independent science fiction film, directed by Luke Sparke, who co-wrote the film with Felix Williamson, who provided additional dialogue.

There is much to like about the film. Apart for the principle characters all the other people in the film were unpaid extras. To get the most out of the film you really should approach it with subdued expectations.

The overall film follows a well-worn trope. Get a bunch of people together, preferably a couple will start with an adversarial relationship. Next you spend some time introducing the cast in the hope that we will give a monkey as they are inevitably killed. Having set up the cast then you bring on the invasion which allows for much bonding and pyrotechnics before the ragged rebels finally overcome a patently superior technological race. This format covers everything from Red Dawn (1984) to the many television shows, which have also told the same story.

Because of the budget limitation, the film is big on practical effects, generously sprinkling around explosions and a good use of suggestive lighting over more expensive CGI. I thought that the alien costumes were effective, even if the aliens seemed intent in behaving like they were a little simple. There is some good CGI, but this is generally on a level of blink and you’ll miss it, with the inclusion of a few beauty shots and this suggestive use of CGI works well in the film.

Unfortunately, the film is not without its faults, the greatest of these is that it is too long to support the story. The directing is generally good, but I’m not sure why Sparke felt that it was appropriate to go into slow motion in so many of the action scenes, which just pulls you out and spoils the pace of the film.

The disc has no extras, which is a shame, it would have been nice to have a director’s commentary discussing how they overcame the stringent limitations of their budget. On the audio side you get a choice of either 2.0 PCM or 5.1 DTS-HD MA, with optional English subtitles.

Its not a great film but given the restrictions that they were working on its certainly has its interesting aspects. Not a classic, but not a complete dog either.


Charles Packer

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