Having been made way back in 2004, there’s an obvious reason from the very start as to why From Other Worlds seems so dated, aside from its low budget. Not that this is the sole explanation for the sense of unease that pervades the film.
Director Barry Strugatz for the most part successfully straddles the line between Close Encounters-esque discovery tale and sci-fi spoof. Spaced-out housewife Joanne (Cara Buono) claims to have been abducted, and subsequently abandons her peaceful yet unsatisfying existence, much to the bafflement of her husband Brian (David Lansbury), all the while she tries to discover the truth about what happened to her – a journey that takes us to the limits of our understanding of the universe, and possibly beyond.
Even though it’s ultimately engaging, at first it’s hard to get into. It wears its Amblin influences on its sleeve, yet despite being marketed as a comedy, for the first hour at least there are few laughs to be had, relying on its viewers’ kinship with sci-fi greats to glean knowing laughs.
In other words, arch-fans of optimistic forward-looking Eighties genre classics are its target audience. It’s a narrow one, but it’ll undoubtedly find a home there.