Occupation Rainfall is the sequel to Occupation, a low budget Australian sci-fi movie from 2018 about a small group of town residents who band together against an alien invasion. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea that Occupation Rainfall was a sequel at all, until after I’d finished watching it! Luckily, from what I’ve since read online, the only thing I’ve missed out on from having not seen the first movie is the formation of some of the character relationships that feature in this sequel. But, to be honest, Occupation Rainfall works relatively well as a standalone movie anyway. Well, for most of the time.
A much larger budget has been granted for this (25 million AUD compared to 8 million for the first) and the result is a big increase in scale and special effects, along with an increase in the numbers of people now involved in the fight for our planet. We’re two years into the alien invasion, and all-out war is taking place both in the skies and on the ground of Australia. Sydney is now hosting a colony of aliens and the underground base of humans are doing their very best to fight back. And, I’ve got to admit, I was impressed. There’s a real sense of epic, high stakes intensity right from the opening battle scenes, the kind of thing that you’d expect from a movie boasting five times the budget of this one. And those scenes aren’t just a one-off either, with impressive battles continuing throughout. Director, writer and editor Luke Sparke has clearly maintained his vision of a large-scale alien invasion story set across Australia and I honestly don’t know how he achieved it all on the budget available, and I applaud all involved.
Some of the aliens, or greys as they are known, have turned against their own kind and are now working alongside the human fighters, providing intelligence and even killing their own in battle. Although there is understandably a lot of caution and distrust among us humans with many greys being kept as prisoners or in captivity while having scientific tests carried out on them.
The humans learn of a military device, codenamed ‘Rainfall’, that is also of interest to the aliens, and a small team consisting of Matt Simmons (Dan Ewing), good-guy alien Garry (Lawrence Makaore) and stowaway Marcus (Trystan Go) sets off on a dangerous mission across the countryside to try and discover if the mysterious ‘Rainfall’ can help give them an advantage in their fight against the aliens.
Being out of the city and in the big outdoors gives us a bit of a breather from all the mass destruction that’s taking place in the cities, along with a chance for a little bit of character development between the team. The group eventually takes refuge in a small town where they meet up with Peter Bartlett (Temuera Morrison), who decides to accompany them on their quest.
The arrival at ‘Rainfall’, and particularly the introduction of Ken Jeong as Bud Miller, signals an unfortunate downturn in quality that Occupation Rainfall sadly never manages to shake off. As much as I’m a fan of Ken, his comedy pairing with a grey who has been stuck here on Earth for decades just didn’t work for me. Seeing them bicker like an old married couple, accompanied by some cheesy comedy music, really distracted from the tone already set so far. From there on, Occupation Rainfall just became a bit of a mess.
To be honest, I’m not 100% clear on what went on after that. The aliens turned up to try and throw a spanner in the works, there was some more fighting and the rest was largely forgettable. The movie ends with hints at more chapters still to come, but unless they can come up with a script to match the impressive special effects they achieved on such a small budget, I’ll be giving further instalments a miss.
Signature Entertainment presents Occupation Rainfall in Cinemas and on Digital from 9 July
See all photos >>
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.