Extinction (2018 film)

Extinction is a 2018 American science fiction thriller film directed by Ben Young and written by Spenser Cohen and Brad Kane. The film is about a father who has a recurring dream/vision about the loss of his family while witnessing a force bent on destruction. The film stars Lizzy Caplan, Michael Peña, Mike Colter, Lilly Aspell, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard, and Lex Shrapnel. It was released on Netflix on July 27, 2018.

Film release poster
Directed byBen Young
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story bySpenser Cohen
Music byThe Newton Brothers
CinematographyPedro Luque
Edited byMatthew Ramsey
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • July 27, 2018 (2018-07-27)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film had originally been scheduled for a theatrical release on January 26, 2018, by Universal Pictures, but was pulled from the release schedule. Later in February 2018, it was reported that Netflix had acquired the film from Universal. It received negative reviews, with criticism for its confused and weak storyline, character development and pacing.


Peter, an engineer, has recurring nightmares in which he and everyone he knows suffer through violent, alien invasion-like confrontations with an unknown enemy. He reluctantly visits a clinic to receive psychiatric help, only to find a patient there who reveals that he is having the same visions, prompting Peter to believe his visions are of an upcoming invasion.

That night, invading spaceships open fire on the city, causing significant damage. Peter and his wife, Alice, barricade their apartment amid the sounds of slaughter from ground troops. A soldier dressed in armor breaks through the barricade and finds Lucy, one of Peter and Alice's children, hiding under a table. The soldier pauses to examine the girl, and that distraction allows Peter and Alice to immobilize the soldier. Peter, now armed with the soldier's weapon, leads his family out of the building.

Based on his visions, Peter and his family agree to seek shelter at the factory where Peter works. He is able to bypass the rifle's biometric authentication and kill soldiers guarding the apartment building's exit. They make their way to a tunnel entrance to safely travel to the factory, but not before Alice is injured from a bomb blast. As they regroup, the soldier from their apartment appears, having tracked them with a homing signal on the rifle Peter took. To Peter's shock, the soldier removes his helmet and appears human. Peter forces the soldier to carry Alice to the factory. There, his boss David, explains that the invasion has been expected for many years. A medic examines Alice but informs Peter that he cannot save her. As David's men drag the invading soldier off to execute him, he yells to Peter that he can save Alice. Peter agrees to stay with the soldier to save Alice. David will evacuate their children to a subway station where a transport train awaits to take them all to an offsite base.

The soldier surprises Peter by revealing that Alice is a synthetic (AI). To save Alice, she needs an alternate source of power: Peter himself. At the soldier's guidance, Peter cuts open his own chest with a pocket knife, confirming that he is also a synthetic. The soldier connects a cable between the two androids and Peter passes out, experiencing in detail what he had thought were visions of the future but are actually memories of a past war. Fearing that android workers ("synthetics") might rise up against humans, the military attack unarmed synthetics. The synthetics fight back and eventually drive all humans off the planet. To deal with the guilt of what they have done and prevent themselves from living in fear of a reprisal from humans, the synthetics have wiped their memories and lived as humans, unaware of their nature or history.

Peter wakes up and the soldier, Miles, explains that humans have been living on Mars for 50 years. He had expected the synths to be monsters, not families with children. Peter and Alice part amicably with Miles to find their daughters as humans breach the roof of the factory. As they all depart on the train, David explains that he and a handful of other synthetics kept their memories to stay prepared for the inevitable return of the humans. Peter suggests that some day there could be peace between humans and synthetics.



In December 2013, it was revealed that the screenplay for Extinction, written by Spenser Cohen, had been included in the 2013 Black List of the year's best unproduced scripts in Hollywood, as voted on by more than 250 studio execs.[1] In January 2014, Joe Johnston signed on to direct the film,[2] and in September 2016, it was revealed that James McAvoy was "in talks" to star.[3]

In October 2016, Ben Young signed on to direct the film, with Johnston having left the project a while back.[4] In January 2017, it was announced that Michael Peña would star in the role McAvoy had been courted for.[5] In February 2017, Universal Pictures won worldwide distribution rights to the film, with principal production set to begin in April 2017.[6] In March 2017, Lizzy Caplan and Israel Broussard joined the cast,[7][8] while Mike Colter and Lex Shrapnel joined in April,[9][10] and Emma Booth in May.[11]


The film Extinction (2018) follows the troop of alien invasion seen in many films such as Avatar (2009)[12] and more. This film also centers around themes such as colonial amnesia[13], technophobia[14], immigrating for a better life[15][16], and what is “alien”. Extinction (2018) describes the story of a man who has recurring nightmares of devastation to his planet and the unknown. In reality, the plot shows that the people currently inhabiting Earth are actually the aliens once the humans develop the technology to come back. The story instills the sense of technophobia as it depicts a world where artificial life takes over and causes humans to evacuate the planet[14]. Colonial amnesia takes form in an interesting way, the plot reveals that none of the AI remember the conflict between humans as they had erased their memories[13]. This film reflects on current ideals as well, the theme of immigrating for a better life and how we define “alien”. At the end of the film, the AI emigrate to escape the danger that is threatening their lives[15]. War, lack of resources, and a chance for a better future are motivators for these people to escape the place that they have always known as home.[16] This film tries to provide political activism in a way that Avatar (2009) does, to give this prospective in mainstream media.[17]


Extinction was released on July 27, 2018, on Netflix.[18] The film had originally been scheduled for a theatrical release on January 26, 2018, by Universal Pictures,[19] but was pulled from the release schedule.[20] Later in February 2018, it was reported that Netflix had acquired the film from Universal.[21][22]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 39% based on 23 reviews, and an average rating of 4.16/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Extinction has a few intriguing ideas, but they -- and some game performances from its talented stars -- are lost in the movie's muddled plot and frustrating pacing."[23] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 40 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[24]

Jake Nevins of The Guardian gave it 2/5 stars and called the film "a competent, if formulaic film", writing that, by virtue of not being viewed theatrically, the film's flaws are magnified and its strengths were weakened.[25] In his 1.5/4 star review for RogerEbert.com, Nick Allen wrote "There's a tightness that I respect with Extinction. It's not so much a thrill-ride but a movie monorail, with one revelation at the end meant to reconsider the entire journey. That speaks to its efficiency as the latest in mindless, if not attention-less Netflix movies. Extinction doesn't seek to be much, but it's just not all that charming, either."[26]


  1. ^ Kroll, Justin (2013-12-16). "The Black List Announces 2013 Screenplays (Complete List)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  2. ^ "'Captain America' Director in Talks For Alien Invasion Movie 'Extinction' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  3. ^ Busch, Anita (2016-09-09). "James McAvoy May Find Life In Sci-Fi Thriller 'Extinction'". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  4. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (2016-10-19). "'Hounds Of Love' Helmer Ben Young Set To Direct 'Extinction'". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (2017-02-01). "Michael Pena to Star in Sci-Fi Thriller 'Extinction'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  6. ^ "Universal Nabs Sci-Fi Thriller 'Extinction' Starring Michael Pena (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (2017-03-03). "Lizzy Caplan Joins Michael Pena in Sci-Fi Thriller 'Extinction' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  8. ^ "'Bling Ring' Star Israel Broussard Joining Alien Invasion Thriller 'Extinction' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (2017-04-21). "'Luke Cage' Star Mike Colter Joins Universal's 'Extinction' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (2017-04-27). "'Captain America' Actor Lex Shrapnel Joins Michael Pena in 'Extinction'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  11. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (2017-05-26). "Emma Booth Cast In Universal's 'Extinction'; Andy Buckley Horror Indie 'All Light Will End'". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  12. ^ "Avatar (2009 film)", Wikipedia, 2020-03-17, retrieved 2020-03-19
  13. ^ a b Lisa Kahaleole Hall (2008). "Strategies of Erasure: U.S. Colonialism and Native Hawaiian Feminism". American Quarterly. 60 (2): 273–280. doi:10.1353/aq.0.0008. ISSN 1080-6490.
  14. ^ a b Walker, Katherine (2010). "Review of Technophobia: Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology". Material Culture. 42 (1): 94–96. ISSN 0883-3680.
  15. ^ a b "An In-Depth Look at Migration and the People Risking Everything for a New Life". Time. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  16. ^ a b "Most immigrants come to the United States in search of better life, our freedoms". Wichita Falls. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  17. ^ Monbiot, George (2010-01-11). "Mawkish, maybe. But Avatar is a profound, insightful, important film | George Monbiot". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  18. ^ Clopton, Ellis (2018-06-30). "What's Coming to Netflix in July 2018". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2017-03-20). "Universal's 'Extinction' Will Spread During Winter 2018". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  20. ^ Hayden, Erik (November 24, 2017). "Universal Pulls Sci-Fi Thriller 'Extinction' From Release Schedule". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  21. ^ McNary, Dave (February 8, 2018). "Netflix Buys Michael Pena-Lizzy Caplan Thriller 'Extinction' From Universal (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  22. ^ Hemmert, Kylie (February 8, 2018). "Netflix Buys Universal's Extinction, Starring Michael Pena and Lizzy Caplan". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  23. ^ "Extinction (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  24. ^ "Extinction (2018)". Metacritic. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  25. ^ Nevins, Jake (July 27, 2018). "Extinction review – splashy alien invasion thriller crash lands on Netflix". The Guardian. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  26. ^ Allen, Nick (July 27, 2018). "Extinction Review". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved July 29, 2018.

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