Earthling is the directorial debut of Clay Liford starring Rebecca Spence, Peter Greene, Amelia Turner and William Katt in lead roles. It’s a very low budget science fiction movie about a group of people who wake up to realize that they are infact aliens disguised as humans and must now choose between going back home or staying back on earth. The movie focuses on the main character Judith’s struggles with coming to term with this realization and the shock of finding out about the true nature of her kind.
In this, a clear example of a small movie with big ideas, perhaps the storyline suffers a little too much from the frequent flashbacks & haunting memories that seem to plague Judith. In no way does the movie speed up, as no government agencies, scientist or military are behind these aliens and other than the people in this group, no one else is aware of their true nature. It’s a story of self-discovering and slowly coming to grips with the reality of their situation.
A small spiky ball travels in space and approaches a space station and is picked up by 3 men who man the station. As soon as Sean comes in contact with it a strange pulse rings out, instantly killing the other two astronauts. Sean survives the encounter, but returns to Earth in a comatose state. At the same time Judith, a respected high school teacher, has a black out and crashes her car while also having a miscarriage. Both her doctors & she attribute it to an epileptic fit which she used to have as a child and was on medication for it. Judith feels better but while recovery she seems distracted & distances herself from her husband and is unable to concentrate in her classes. She also finds two bumps on her forehead which she manages to cover up with wisps of her hair. A new student Abby seems to be very interested in her and seems to know about her.
These changes in Judith are in sense a “reboot” cause by the pulse emanating from the spiky ball. Judith is soon made aware of a small group of people who appear to be following her. They are just like her, her brethren who were also awakened by the presence of the spiky ball and she is connected to them and to Sean. They also have the same bumps of their forehead and were awakened by the blackout but they seem to know more about their true nature & purpose than she does. Their true nature & form is that of a parasitical slug that is inside them. Judith and her fellow parasitic alien friends are not on Earth to cause harm or steal its precious resources; they are on Earth to experience the human condition – to experience love and have so well adjusted to life on earth that they even forgot that they were alien. Unfortunately, since this alien species cannot mate with humans their time on Earth is limited.
Judith realizes that her flashbacks of a child swimming in a small pond was the time that the slug entered into her and formed the Judith that we’ve come to know. Similarly other slugs entered into various people and one, who was her mate, entered Abby (there is a scene in which Abby confesses to Judith that – You were my wife). Sean meanwhile recovers but soon spits out the spiky ball from inside him. The ball is a pod which can enable the slugs to go back to their native world. All the slugs eventually come out of their human hosts, which also is fatal to the human bodies, and collect in the ball. Judith stays behind choosing to remain as a human and delivers the ball into a small container, which was supposed to hold Sean’s ashes, to NASA and as per Sean’s wishes the container is ejected into space. Unknown to NASA the contained explodes and the pod goes on it’s way back to where it came from.
Murky, a bit boring, well actually quite boring, the plot intrigued me but the movie failed to hold any fascination with me. Spense’s acting is solid and Amelia Spencer, for just her second screen test, did wonderfully but the movie as a whole won’t stimulate your mind or any of your senses. Still I’d give it a 6 out of 10!