Joseph Ruben has directed a couple of slick nearly-A-budget horror thrillers of very little consquence, like The Good Son (1993) which at least revealed what we already knew: Macaulay Culkin is evil. Or Dreamscape (1984) which is like a young-adult version of The Cell (2000), the psychologist travelling in the subject's brain defeating a Dungeons & Dragons monster rather than an arch sexual psychopath. Basically his films are mediocre, rarely so bad they seem a complete waste of time, but never top notch entertainments.
The Forgotten is one of those films that used all its best visual stunts in the trailer & had nothing more to offer. Some of it might've been quite startling otherwise, but I'd already seen every "shock" during the release-week ad-blitz.
The film starts out well, moody & mysterious. But the idea that aliens from outer space are treating earthlings as lab rats is not worked out very sensibly, & never quite convinces.
It comes off as though the visual stunts (being snatched off the earth right into outer space then nobody remembers you ever existed) was lit upon before any reason for it happening was concocted. The visual stunt was pretty good even though too much exposed in the trailer so that the film packed no surprise. The storyline that struggles to explain this visual stunt seems strained, ad hoc, & ridiculous.
Our heroine is also being chased about by the Feds. But we are never given even the slightest clue what they would do with her had they been competent enough to catch her, which they were not, so all that was rather pointless.
The ending sucks raw potatoes. The creators of this pallid imitation of M. Night Shyamalan at his worst clearly didn't like the ending themselves, & the DVD includes two separate edits of the film, one which in the end shows the alien is just bad, bad, bad, as he tries to strangle his lab-rat human like a common thug rather than the sort of superbeing that could've orchestrated world-wide changes in personal histories or erase people altogether. In the alternate ending the alien fixes everything when he's done, the way Mr. Mxyztplk in old Superman comics gets all his ill deeds reversed in the end.
Neither of these dumb endings work, & Julianne Moore's good acting is largely wasted in a hoky ill-thought-out script that had no place to go.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl