Sometimes I’ll take a break from horror films to review a scifi flick if I think it looks promising enough, hence why I’m devoting this write-up to Saban Films’ Occupation. Written and directed by Luke Sparke, Occupation sees a small town enjoying a high school sports game when lights suddenly appear in the sky…followed by deadly laser beams. The world is under attack by aliens who’ve been watching Earth for decades, and now they’re ready to seize control of the planet and its resources – including its human resources. Eventually, a small group of survivors from the original invasion band together and form an army that fights back against the concurring aliens. Who will win the war – an advances race with technology light years ahead of our own, or every day civilians with more heart and humanity than ever expected? A gut pleasing scfi-thriller and drama, Occupation stars Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Stephany Jacobsen, Rhiannon Fish, Zachary Garred, Izzy Stevens, Charles Terrier and Charles Mesure. Occupation is in theaters and available on VOD and Digital HD on July 20, 2018. Here’s why you should consider checking it out.
Occupation may not be the most original movie, but it’s similarities to Independence Day are enthralling and captivating. Writer/director Luke Sparke starts the film by showcasing a typical town in America. It could be my town. It could be your town. People are enjoying the night when UFO’s swoop in and blow the stadium up. As I sat in my seat, I literally looked at the computer and said, “Yoooooooooooooooooo!” because I wasn’t expecting the onslaught to happen at such a peaceful time. Surprising! Entertaining! Emotionally draining! It isn’t long before cities all around the world fall victim to the invading aliens, and remnants of towns in America start resembling something out of Mad Max, with tattered clothes and make-shift villages. These aliens are cold, calculated and malicious; they even start poisoning the lakes and oceans so humans don’t have an unlimited source of water. But, the aliens never anticipated the ferocity of the human spirit. It’s true – when we are tested the most is when we stand up, stand together, and kick ass! That testament is even clearer in Occupation. It comes off a little hokey, but it is 100% a stand up and cheer movie that you don’t want to miss if you’re a scifi fan.
A collaboration between Pinnacle Films, Filmmode Entertainment and Sparke Films, Occupation contains well-rounded acting and a few scenes that will pull at the audience’s heart strings. Even in a scifi movie about attacking aliens, the script still went for some emotional punches – and they came out unscathed and better for it. Occupation is the Independent Day of a new generation, and it needed that extra oomph, that extra attempt to be something more than a typical scifi narrative. The heart and determination, and monologues that mirror the president in Independence Day is going to grip the audience and make them root for the characters, an accomplishment that’s not always achieved in movies like this one. Coupled with the admirable acting is the equally impressive camera work and set decoration. The picture quality was shiny yet clear and made Occupation look like a million bucks. So did the set decoration, costuming and props department, with no expense being spared to make this movie appear as realistic as possible. The sets were far better than anything you’d find on basic cable, and that’s something that should be applauded when looking at a straight-to-DVD movie.
I could keep mentioning all the great things about Occupation – including the excellent use of CGI that beats the pants off SyFy and the incredible soldier design – but I should remain slightly neutral. The problem is…there are only two things I didn’t like about Occupation. The musical scores seemed out of place and not up to the caliber of this movie, and I think it needed a little bit more action. Still, Occupation is produced by Carly and Carmel Imprie and the duo, along with cinematographer Tony O’Loughlan and everyone else associated with this motion picture, deserve a huge round of applause. Genre fans who dig “Battlestar Galactica” and “Stargate” should run to retailers and Amazon to purchase their copies of this movie. Like right now! It was well worth the walk into science fiction over horror because it payed off, in this case I was certainly entertained from start to finish. Inspiring, visually stunning and pulse-pounding, Occupation was nothing short of a wondrous, glorious, battle for survival I would return to again. Final Score: 8 out of 10.