‘Attack of the Unknown’ is an adventure into the world of indie sci-fi

by Gordon Shelly

As I do so often, I must begin a review as a champion of independent cinema. When consumerism has movie watching audiences expecting everything they watch to bear the standard of a 300-million dollar Marvel movie, indies are held to unfair expectations.

And, it is the value of the achievement that must often be commended over the final outcome. Therefore, the ambition of Attack of the Unknown must be commended. At the surface it is your standard fare alien invasion movie, but director Brandon Slagle and producing siblings Sonny and Michael Mahal seem to envision something more.

Set your expectations of Marvel glamour once again at the door and appreciate the nitty, gritty, indie approach Slagle takes with Attack of the Unknown. It is imperfect, with writing that is occasionally, unintentionally laughable, and acting that is often flat (but entirely serviceable).  But it is fun. The creature effects, especially for a low-budget indie are surprisingly good.  The visual effects team does much more than present a digital goof or a monster in a rubber suit. They create a genuine and fun to watch alien being.

War of the Worlds has become the prototype for alien invasion movies heavily influencing Independence Day, Mars Attacks! and countless others.  However, Attack bears a greater resemblance to a movie in a different genre altogether. I’d say it is more akin to Night of the Living Dead rather than any of the common alien invasion movies.

Ultimately, Attack of the Unknown is a mix of science fiction and survival horror, much like Night of the Living Dead. Characters find themselves on a journey to survive, while fighting with one another, and outcomes that are uncertain.

Attack of the Unknown is also an ode to what can be done through crowdfunding in today’s world.  This movie appears to have raised somewhere near $300,000, with over 450 backers, in its various crowdfunding efforts. Crowdfunders find themselves with the luxury of helping produce a movie and find their name in the credits alongside Tara Reid, Richard Grieco and Robert Lasardo.  Grieco seems to be experiencing a career revival thanks to movies like this and Lasardo seems to be establishing his career because of movies like this!

The initial release was back in August of 2020, but it is now available on Amazon Prime and well-worth the watch.

Gordon’s Grade:  B