Stranded (2013) Review

This is definitely not a film for those who are soft-hearted. If you can handle a little bit of gore, blood, and a monster, then you have much to look forward to. Stranded (2013) directed by Roger Christian follows the desperation of astronauts stationed in a lunar base on the surface of the moon. Here's a brief, but effective summary:

The Lunar Base Ark is hit by a meteor shower and has severe damage. Colonel Gerard Brauchman sends Ava Cameron to repair a wing that is full of carbon monoxide. Dr. Lance Krauss warns that the gas may cause paranoia and hallucinations. Ava brings a sample of the meteor for analysis and Dr. Krauss finds that there are spores attached to the meteor. Ava accidentally cuts her finger in a sample but she hides the cut from the doctor. Soon Ava gets pregnant and delivers an alien offspring. Brauchman and Kraus believe that Ava is delusional. The offspring bites the crewman Bruce Johns and produces a clone of him. Claudio Carvalho (IMDB.com)

Deep dark and conflicted emotional states are abound in Stranded, where the seams of leadership and order are torn apart by the fright and the unknowable threat that looms before Brauchman (Christian Slater). The most challenging aspect of any horror is the believability, the convincing dread that's both the result of eerie filmmaking and the minute expressions of the actors. Horror is something that requires deeper, multi-level analysis that typical viewership can't really comprehend.

H.P Lovecraft once said, "the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear." Inducing fear sounds rather unecessary, but this is the most primal sense of empathy that all of us can feel, because we feel for the terror and we respond to it accordingly. On IMDB, the reviews don't really make sense, because they are looking at Stranded in a less seasoned and appreciating tone--they do not want to experience the effort that Roger Christian put into with a "shoe-string" budget. Christian understands the dread that he must induce, inspired by Ridley Scott's Aliens (1979), he begins to adopt recognizable characteristics in Scott's film.

The Ship in Alien (1979)

The following gallery is an example of the roots for Stranded's inspiration. The inspirations are well-founded, it's clear that in Alien, Ridley Scott sought to create the antithesis, the total dread of masculine psyche. The alien's ship is in direct contrast to the ship of the humans (biologically dependent ship whose pipes and overall design resemble an organ vs. the human's sterile white environment). The Aliens are born in a chaos of bacteria, dirt, and slime while humans are born in a sterile, clean environment. This biological entity seeks to assert itself through humans, using humans as an incubator/host to satisfy its basic nutrients before it can force its way out.

It's interesting to trace the typology of Roger Christian's Stranded, because there is a direct relationship between Alien and this film. Aliens are always seen as having a dirty, unknowable host-like birthing method, they can't procreate within their own species, but that they must acquire a host and humans are always the most susceptible, the weakest species in the universe.

Let's turn to Stranded

Clips from Stranded

Stranded is filled with imagery that needs more indepth exploration. It's not really known exactly the motives behind Roger's work, he moves through sequences very fluidly and one can almost miss some critical sequences. The following stills are simply for your reference, but what's notably the same is that in Stranded, the ship is also highly similar to ship in Aliens (see behind Christian Slater and the interesting corridor shot!

Stranded (2013) Trailer

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