Uneven alien thriller doesn't fulfill early potential.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Proximity is an indie sci-fi thriller about a young scientist (Ryan Masson) who's investigating his extraterrestrial encounter. It features lots of chase sequences, shooting (using both laser and regular guns) by androids and officers, and one scary moment in which it seems like a few characters have been shot and killed. Romance and language are mild, limited to flirting/hand-holding and a few uses of "damn" and "hell." Characters demonstrate courage and teamwork. Parents and kids will be able to talk about everything from how the media treats clickbait stories to whether there's life on other planets.
Dude gets abducted by aliens in 2020 with 90's technology. Why would you use camcorder in 2020?? But its ok
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What's the Story?
PROXIMITY follows the story of Isaac (Ryan Masson), a young computer engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsions Lab. While filming a video at the suggestion of a therapist, Isaac captures meteorites crashing, encounters an extraterrestrial, and disappears for a couple of days. Once he "returns," he posts his video and is mocked instead of believed, but he does hear from one person who believes he really did see an alien. He meets the other believer, Sara (Highdee Kuan), but then they're both abruptly captured by secret government agents with android security guards. Isaac and Sara must work together to escape and find the answers to their mysterious encounters.
Is It Any Good?
Although this close-encounter thriller initially shows some potential, the movie is too unevenly paced and performed to stand out as a genre film. Masson, who comes across like a combination of Asa Butterfield and Lukas Haas, is fine as an earnest young scientist coming to grips with a confusing and otherworldly situation. But Proximity's ensemble would have benefited from at least one recognizable actor to add some gravitas to the otherwise unfamiliar cast. Kuan, for example, is appealing, but she exhibits little chemistry with Masson and occasionally struggles with her timing and delivery.
Writer-director Eric Demeusy -- making his feature debut -- is a visual effects artist, so the movie's effects are notable, particularly since this isn't a big-budget film. That said, the plot suffers from posing more questions than it answers and relying too much on the android villains. Toward the end, there's also a confusing religious explanation for why the aliens have made contact with humans. The sequences set outdoors -- in Costa Rica and California -- fare better than the indoor ones, which don't display a realistic production design. Families who can't get enough sci-fi alien movies may want to give this a chance, but it's not going to measure up to the better entries in the genre.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how alien movies have changed throughout the years. How does Proximity compare to other extraterrestrial-themed films?
Discuss the character strengths displayed in the movie. Why are teamwork and courage particularly important in the story?
What do you think about the violence in the movie? Is it depicted in a particularly scary way?
What do you think about the movie's religious comment toward the end?
- On DVD or streaming: July 7, 2020
- Cast: Ryan Masson, Highdee Kuan, Christian Prentice
- Director: Eric Demeusy
- Studio: Shout Factory
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: December 2, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Suspenseful, thoughtful alien-encounter classic.
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E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Spielberg's family classic is still one of the best.
Kids' sci-fi adventure never fully blasts off.
Thoughtful adaptation of Sagan novel; violence, peril.
For kids who love sci-fi
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