Independents’ Day (2016)


USA. 2016.


Director/Photography – Laura Beth Love, Screenplay – Geoff Meed, Producer – David Michael Latt, Music – Mike Verta, Visual Effects Supervisor – Glenn Campbell, Production Design – Kalise Wallace. Production Company – The Asylum.


Fay Gauthier (President Meredith Raney), Jes Selane (Kelly Reed), Salvatore Garriola (General Roundtree), Jonathan Ortiz (Captain Goddard), Matthew Poalilo (Bobby Raney), Jon Wright (Senator Randall Raney), Jude Lanston (Agent Taylor), William Castrogiovanni (Major Fry), Brian Tyler Cohen (Ari), Jacquelin Arroyo (Red), Kurt Sinclair (President Oliver)


Alien ships arrive in orbit around the Earth. The US sends up fighter planes to intercept them but these are shot down. The aliens attack and The White House is blown up. The President is killed in the attack, whereupon Vice President Meredith Raney is appointed the new President. The aliens contact her and say they come in peace and only attacked because armed planes were sent up against them. They say that because mankind has devastated the Earth, they only option is for humanity is to be relocated to another planet or be eradicated. To demonstrate their peaceful intent, the aliens heal Raney’s son Bobby who suffers from cerebral palsy. Ships descend to begin transporting people. Raney’s husband contacts Kelly Reed, the head of the militia group Free Earth, and they organise a resistance by attacking the ships. As Raney’s people start to discover, the aliens’ real intent is not as peaceful as they are trying to make humanity believe.

The Asylum is a company that has had some success in recent years specialising in low-budget films that come out mimicking the titles of big-budget, high-profile releases in the hopes that people won’t look too closely or notice the difference. It is a strategy they call ‘mockbusters’ and has produced titles such as Snakes on a Train (2006), Transmorphers (2007), Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008), The Day the Earth Stopped (2008), The 18 Year Old Virgin (2009), Paranormal Entity (2009), Battle of Los Angeles (2011), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012), Age of the Hobbits (2012), among others. (For a more detailed overview see Mockbusters).

Independents’ Day was The Asylum’s mockbuster attempt to cash in on the release of Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) and was released two weeks before the big budget model was. The Asylum were not around as a company when the original Independence Day (1996) was released. Here they simply rehash much of the original. They even copy the scene where the aliens blow up The White House, while the climax involves the plan to infect alien ship with both a computer virus and an actual virus (which becomes somewhat confusing when they hatch a plan to unleash both types of virus in the same scene).

(l to r) US President Fay Gauthier and her top general Salvatore Garriola face an alien invasion

The very need to copycat the Independence Day films has forced an awkward title onto the film. The independents would seem to refer to a militia group that start their own war against the aliens after being prompted by The President’s husband (without her knowledge). This does lead to the rather laughable images of the militia group (which in real life are usually virulently opposed to any notion of federalism or government) becoming Earth’s hope and their leader (Jes Selane) referring to members of the government and military as “sir” and taking orders. (On the other hand, after QAon and the Capitol Riots, this doesn’t quite seem as outlandish as it did back in 2016).

The effects are competent enough for The Asylum’s typical output but the drama is not terribly interesting or convincing.

Independence Day was the sole film (so far) directed by Laura Beth Love who has otherwise worked as a cinematographer on various films for The Asylum and others.

Trailer here

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