Proximity is a sci-fi thriller written and directed by special effects artist Eric Demeusy and, naturally, the visual tricks are the best part of the movie. Wrapping up his film in the rich potential of employing as many illusions as his modest budget can afford, Demeusy gives us a story of a young NASA scientist who hazily gets abducted by aliens and becomes obsessed with a pursuit to find evidence of his extraterrestrial encounter. It’s essentially Fire in the Sky but not quite as good.
In fact, oddly enough, what undercuts this indie feature in comparison with its 90s Hollywood cousin is the difference in CGI ambition. Fire in the Sky delivered a brilliantly horrifying spectacle of dysmorphic aliens inside a grotesque colossal cocoon, whilst Proximity only goes as far as depicting a couple of aliens in reasonable detail. Nevertheless, the wonderful rendering of these foreign beings, as well as the inherent visual pleasure in a story containing car chases and mise-en-scène bursting with detail, allow the film to clear the bar for decent entertainment.
It’s this craft that really gives Proximity its appeal, as it tries to be a champagne product on a beer budget but proves unsatisfying on a few basic levels. For one, the lead actor Ryan Masson – a poor man’s Asa Butterfield – is unable to emote anything beyond a poker face, too obviously inadequate to be playing any character in danger, let alone a NASA scientist. Then there’s the shoehorned romance between the protagonist and a fellow alien hostage that pushes the film into outdated, dystopian YA territory, in addition to a few unappealing faux Chvrches songs on the soundtrack. Don Scribner, an actor who commonly plays bit parts, is the most watchable as an off-the-grid grizzled man who holds the key to the truth.
Proximity is flawed and unoriginal, but it satisfies on the strength of the pre-existing entertainment value of its alien abduction premise alone, offering enough thrills to sustain its two-hour length.
Proximity is released digitally on demand on 18th May 2020.
Watch the trailer for Proximity here: