Young buck Joe (Joel Courtney) and his chums witness a horrendous, deliberate train-wreck whilst shooting their zero-budget zombie splatterfest on the eponymous film stock. Discovering the sinister details of the train’s cargo, and the desperation of shady military types to recover it, Joe et al. must hide their involvement from the grown-ups and stay alive amid increasingly violent incidents in the community.
Steven Spielberg’s continuing involvement with the interminable crash-bang-wallop Transformers fiasco somehow makes his producer credit on this delightful throwback to a time when summer movies had characters, plot and charm and stuff all the sweeter. J.J. Abrams’ decidedly Spielbergian tale of assorted middle-school geeks at the centre of bizarre happenings in their sleepy small town is a great reminder of proper blockbuster cinema; incredibly funny, moving, creepy and exciting in equal measure. The young cast are all outstanding, ably supported by the adults in the background, and the nostalgia of the piece is genuinely intoxicating. It’s very E.T., very Goonies and very Close Encounters — wonderful fun. [Chris Fyvie]