CAPSULE: This ultra-low budget attempt at a science fiction film is lacking in just about every aspect. Humans kidnapped by aliens and turned into super-being by aliens return to Earth to battle for control of the alien world. What sounds like the premise of an "Outer Limits" episode never engages the viewer. Mysterious film is probably a first time effort by David M. Epstein. It mostly just seems to be people running around and fighting (not very convincingly). By the time there is any character development, the viewer probably no longer cares. Rating: -1 (-4 to +4) or 3/10
Even as I am reviewing THE SECOND BEST SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE EVER MADE I cannot say very much about the origins of this film or the person behind it. As of this writing it is not listed in the Internet Movie Database or any of the standard movie review sites. The film has a website, http://www.secondbestscifimovie.com. But even that website is surprisingly uninformative. The film was written, produced, and directed by David Michael Epstein for the film company David Michael Epstein. It will be released directly to video on January 5, 2010, and it was a selection for the Long Island Film Festival. But a web search turns up nothing about Epstein even in conjunction with the film festival. Even a Google search does not find any Internet references to the film.
The premise is convoluted. At some time several years ago eight astronauts disappeared. It seems they had been kidnapped by aliens and taken to the aliens' home planet. They found it a paradise, but breathing the atmosphere had a very bad effect on their thinking processes. The astronauts formed two conflicting camps, four humans each, bringing war to the alien world. The astronauts have been sent back to Earth, taking their quarrel back to their home planet. They have two hours to war with each other, and whoever wins will also be the lords of the alien world. This is all revealed in one large expository lump at the beginning of the story. They will fight it out with new super-powers but only minimal special effects. One, for example, has "unremitting musculoskeletal activity in legs." Presumably that means that he is compelled to run without stopping. Most of the astronauts look human, but one has an oversize head that looks like a fugitive from a Marti Gras parade.
There are a lot of good films by one auteur who wrote and directed (and usually produced). Certainly in these days of video, production costs are not high and there are a lot of amateur films being made. I was however intrigued by the title of the film and so decided to give it a try. In some ways the circumstances were a lot like those for another film by a first timer who wrote, produced, and directed. That film was the aptly-titled BAD TASTE (1987) created by Peter Jackson. I would not have expected great things from this Peter Jackson after seeing that first film. Similarly David Michael Epstein is starting with a somewhat less than auspicious attempt. This is a film that seems to be mostly about people running around a suburban neighborhood. It has a few very simple computer special effects, but nothing that makes the visuals of interest.
This mystery film appears to be a practice effort for a fledgling filmmaker. It cannot be recommended, but it does have a moment or two here and there. I rate the inaccurately titled THE SECOND BEST SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE EVER MADE a -1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 3/10.
Mark R. Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2009 Mark R. Leeper