Roger Christian’s Stranded, a horror flick about a ghastly extraterrestrial creature that terrorizes four suckers trapped aboard a bio-dome space craft, is an ill-conceived genre exercise built on a frivolous foundation. It lacks for a significant moral underpinning, making it unworthy of comparisons to the classic movie it’s most obviously inspired by: Alien. The story begins with a meteor shower that pelts a military command center on the moon run by the grumpy Colonel Gerard Brauchman (Christian Slater), severing its communication from Earth. Brauchman and his three associates discover alien spores in one of the meteors, which grow and replicate and eventually impregnate the lone female crew member, Ava Cameron (Amy Matysio), in order to create a violent, shapeshifting creature.
This is a survival film at its core, with every character spending the entirety of the 88-minute running time trying to evade death at the hands of the grizzly alien monster. But in lieu of artfully rendering the story’s dangerous terrain, Christian settles for cheaply mild scares and fits of excessive gore. The film’s thematic slightness becomes apparent when considered side by side with Moon, Duncan Jones’s existential rumination on the repercussions of corporate corruption, or even Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s precursor to Alien about religion driving scientific pursuit. Stranded isn’t about much of anything at all beyond unsubtle homage. However, claiming that it’s fated to wither away in the shadow of a far better movie is too generous. It may suggest an Alien incarnate, but once you get past its exterior, it’s as empty as outer space.