You will notice the reviews here are very divided - either you like it because it is so 'amazing' or you hate it because it is *not* a sci-fi movie as it was made out to be (as seen in the synopsis of IMDb). The so-called 'surprising end' that was mentioned by many reviewers was a downer to me. The ending twist (without giving away too much here) was essentially a personal dilemma regarding having a child or not. As you may expect - I was going for a sci-fi, looking for aliens and was confronted in the end with an apparently 'confusing tale'. I was totally disappointed. I really think that the synopsis from the film maker (and IMDb) should be more honest. They should sell the film as an personal drama with an ethical bend (because this is what it is). The so-called sci-fi elements in the film were completely incidental (and was 'light-weight' for sci-fi fans). The story could have easily been replaced by a woman touching an electrical cable and completely 'rewired' her visions about herself and her future (instead of trying to speak to the aliens, and then being re-wired by the contact). If you saw the film and came away thinking ... "What was that?", then I would advise you read this article - use Google search for 'How the short story that inspired Arrival helps us interpret the film's major twist' by the Verge. The give-away of the whole film why it is *not* a sci-fi movie was the reply that Amy Adams gave to her daughter - "I made a mistake." If you are a sci-fi fan, save your money. Go somewhere else. If you are just looking for a twist, perhaps this film will do it.
Granted all those nice and exciting things as mentioned by other viewers (e.g. astronauts, engineers etc), but this is not even within a mile near anywhere that I would describe as 'film entertainment' because the story is a series of challenges (of survival) that you might expect in the north pole. Don't get me wrong that this is not a serious attempt to create an interesting story. It is.
If this is the type of documentary you want to see, fair enough. I thought I should give it a go too, but I was wrong about myself and what might engage me. I was bored stiff and desperately contemplating to press the stop button on the remote. Half way into the film, I did - had enough.
Not funny, not horror, not for adults and not for kids - what is for?
This is one of those strange films that you come away ultimately with a strong sense of frustration. Even if you allow for the fantasy genre of this film, this film still has not worked well. The fundamental plot is OK - and I try my best not to give away too much - this film is a kind of US modern version of Scrooge (Michael Caine) - but the little sequences here and there that pepper throughout the film are frustrating. One example - how can a grown man be intimidated or even harmed by a small soft toy the size of your hand that climbs on your back when it does not even carry a weapon? And this grown man rolls around the floor and appears to be unable to stand up and get rid the nuisance. Now you know what I am pointing at - the film is peppered with 'nonsense' (even though as I said I am putting my 'fantasy' cap on while commenting). I have seen many fantasy films. This one falls short by a long way.
The story description says " ... what starts out as a fun night of partying quickly turns deadly." Now that's has got to be a fantastic start for a thriller/horror. Indeed, it is all building up nicely till the half way point where the wonder drug is beginning to make party goers do funny things - like killing a few fellow human beings. But that's where my problem begins. I am still trying to work out why the story starts to fizzle out from this point on, instead of taking it to its climate. I sense that what the story needs is a sense of intensity of horror that pins you to the edge of the seat when the drug begins to play tricks. The horror section is just too routinised and uneventful. So the film starts with a '6' for having a nice plot, but then gradually degenerates into a '4' for failing to intensifying it. Perhaps I expect too much.
Like Liam Neeson's 'Taken' franchise, this is a 'father-chases-daughter's-kidnapper' movie. Funny enough, I could not even tell the difference between the two other than the costumes and weapons used. So the verdict is simple - if you like action movies where the goodies always win the day (and get to take the daughter home), this is for you.Sit back and enjoy. Forget about comments made by others that there are acting, stories etc, this is not a film for awards, and I nearly forget ... the veteran actor Kris Kristofferson. He did not even appear for more than 5 minutes. So don't buy your ticket because of him. Other than all that, it's a pleasant film for a couple of hours.
One of those films - you either like it or hate it
I'll go straight to the point - if you like nonsensical and silly type of low budget films or 'have a laugh' (as in teenagers laughing at anything), this could be just the film for you. That's nothing wrong with that - pure silly fun. However, if you are one of those viewers who likes working things out, evaluating the sophistication of the plot or the level of engagement that you get from the script, you should walk away now.
I had not read anything about this film before watching it. I was really frustrated by this film right from the beginning. It was actually painful to watch the plot develop. But half way through, I realised that it was meant to be funny and silly, I said to myself - relax, it's a horror comedy ... But why should it take a while before I realised that it was a horror/comedy? I think the poor jokes - which another reviewer mentioned being 'not funny' - have got something to do with it.
If you want a film to shout at in frustration, this is for you
I would have wanted this film to succeed. There is a basic structure to build a great thriller - a deaf single woman lives in the woods and a killer just arrives uninvited. Fantastic! However, there are just too many holes and unexplained sequences in the plot. You will either shout in frustration or to say "awesome" because you ain't got a clue.
A plus point first - there are sequences that make you sit on edge because something bad is about to happen and it is not going to be nice. Whilst this is not unique, you certainly can't rely on a few scary sequences to make a good film.
The bad points are many - you don't know why the assault should to take place, why the assailant takes so long to 'finish' the job. ... and there are more whys. If it was not daft, it would be quite original. I am disappointed.