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Monday, 6 September 2010

Project Grey (2007)

Director: Christian Blaze and Crystal-Dawn Rosales
Stars: Christian Blaze, Justin Stilwell and Alison Warnyca

'Every truth has a shade of grey,' the narrator explains, though I prefer the Grateful Dead's version where it's silver lining instead of truth. As the title of this film suggests, we have a story all about aliens, so presumably the truth is out there and it doesn't take us nine seasons to discover that it's apparently in Siberia, where Russian military types have set up Project Grey. We're in a town called Medeira, where apparently places are either routinely misspelled or whoever put their names onto the bottom of the screen should be sacked. In Medeira Forrest (sic), Reed explains to someone that she left home because she got abducted by aliens and everyone at home thinks she's crazy. When she strips topless the greys arrive and she gets torn in half by something in the woods that makes strange noises. At Medeira Cementary (sic), Reed's brother Justin says goodbye to his mother who he lost to cancer and that sets up a standard five young people in a cabin in the woods scenario.

There are a few stories unfolding at once here and they're all apparently told in hindsight by a man who occupies a cell at the Medeira Mental Health Facility (they got that one right) and apparently does things like chewing a hole in his arm because it itched at him. The characters aren't the most original in the book but they're a few steps up from the standard dumb slasher victims, however much their first night is mostly about getting drunk and playing poker. There's also a serious angle, as Justin wants to take the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend Allie, at a special place down by the dock. They've been close since they were kids but Allie's also been in a relationship with Chris and after saying yes to Justin she spends the night with Chris. She may have been as drunk as a skunk but it doesn't say much for her willingness to commit, even if the switch was sparked by a confession by Justin that he was visited by the greys too as a child.

Of course there are twists coming that raise a number of questions about what we've really seen. Many of these tie to the web that surrounds the five friends, the death of four of them and the one that survives in the asylum, along with his take on the story and, of course, the greys. Others tie to the Russians we saw at the beginning who seem to magically vanish from the story for the longest time. They return eventually but while many questions are answered at that point, more arise and we realise that there's much more to the story to come. It was written and directed by Christian Blaze, who also plays Chris, and his wife, Crystal-Dawn Rosales, who both took many other roles on the technical side. Amazingly it was shot without a script, the actors entirely free to improvise their lines throughout, which were then collated into a new story in post production. This is hardly a traditional way to make a movie and it may explain why it plays out slowly but it's still engaging.

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