7 out of 10
Release Date: 12th January 2015 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Joseph Baker & Tom Large (Arcadia)
Cast: Richard J Danum, Gillian McGregor, Kristian Hart, David McGranaghan, Dawn Sievewright and Paul Brannigan
Writer: Joseph Baker & Tom Large
Beyond is an unsual ‘alien invasion’ movie that shuns it’s low-budget trappings to deliver an interesting watch. Set in Glasgow and the surrounding countryside, Beyond’s plot is constructed from several parallel timelines: the weeks surrounding the discovery of an asteroid on a possible collision course with earth, the last few days before impact and a present day timeline that reveals that aliens have colonised Earth and have killed most of the population. The story of angry couple Cole (RICHARD J DANUM – ARCADIA) and Maya (GILLIAN MCGREGOR) is revealed in a seemingly random fashion over the course of the film’s running time, as we begin to learn how all three timelines connect. In the present day Cole and Maya are on the run from the aliens and are hiding out in houses in the countryside. At some stage they lost a their baby daughter. In an earlier timeline Cole prevents an armed robbery in a convenience store but doesn’t do enough to stop the store attendant, Michael (PAUL BRANNIGAN – THE ANGEL’S SHARE) from being shot and hospitalised. When Cole attends the hospital in the last days before the meteor hits Earth to be at his daughter’s birth he runs into a recovering Michael again and he seems connected to the future as well as the past. In the present day, Cole and May encounter fellow survivor Keith (KRISTIAN HART) who may have discovered a way to defeat the aliens. Where will all this lead?
Beyond has been inspired by the current wave of character driven TV series and it’s heartening to see a thoughtful approach to a seemingly generic ‘end of the world’ movie. With an extended running time the plot revelations may have been more convincing and it’s rushed ending seems to be the result of a compromise. A more drawn out conclusion could have worked even better – but quality sci-fis on this kind of budget are so few and far between beggars can’t be choosers. It’s well-plotted and well acted by a very small cast. Paul Brannigan excels in a mysterious supporting role. To begin with his part seems to be a throwaway and you wonder why it’s attracted such a talented young actor, then you realise he’s got the plum role. Whilst the Danum and McGregor appear in virtually every scene, Beyond is Brannigan’s to steal. To say which film Beyond borrows a plot twist from is to let the air out of it and won’t do your enjoyment levels any good. Part of the films success comes from trying to fathom out where it’s all leading to. Slightly poncey set-ups are explained away when certain characters’ circumstances come to light.
The special effects are very good and the alien spacecrafts are rendered brilliantly. On a high-res TV they look amazing. Blown up on a cinema screen who knows, this was a DVD premiere in the UK. The soundtrack is a memorable collection of catchy electronic pulses and clicks and they essentially become a centre piece when the films story strands are tied together at the end.
7 out of 10 – A good attempt at presenting something fresh in an overcrowded genre. It works well as a dramatic puzzle piece and is bolstered by strong performances from it’s largely unknown cast and a memorable synth soundtrack. An interesting plot and great visuals will also keep you engaged. Way ‘beyond’ average.
Second review below by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Richard J Danum: Arcadia
- Gillian MacGregor: Arcadia
- Paul Brannigan: Scottish Mussel, Under The Skin (2014), Sunshine On Leith, The Angel’s Share