March 29, 2023

Mills and Koa have found themselves in quite the pickle. Being stranded on an alien planet in an uncharted part of space that’s months away from help … not ideal. The creatures on this planet are extremely hostile, and there’s a foreboding fiery glow in the sky. To make matters worse, Mills and Koa don’t speak the same language, making communication very difficult. Luckily, Mills has experience with children and is pretty good with a gun. This comes in handy on account of the whole dinosaur thing.

The conflict in “65” is essentially “man versus nature,” with “nature” in this case being distinctly prehistoric. There are dinosaurs aplenty, and unfortunately for our heroes, this particular area seems to be impossibly predator heavy; forget anything you know about trophic dynamics and population control — this forest is all-murder, all the time. I think we saw one small herd of herbivores briefly, as well as a flock of Quetzalcoatlus. Mostly, it was just wave after wave of terrifying beasts, ready to rip the flesh from Mills and Koa’s bones. And not even for sustenance! Seemingly, for fun. Not since Barney has the blank stare of a T-Rex seemed so menacing.

Beck and Woods manage to imbue “65” with as much skin-crawling, uncomfortable phobia-bait as possible. It’s not just the typical “scary predator” schtick either (although there is lots of that). This club has everything: claustrophobic spelunking scenes, near drownings in quicksand, bug stuff … the list goes on. There is also a near-constant barrage of jump scares. I am not above admitting that I physically jolted in surprise more than once in my theater viewing — although I think this quality actually detracts from “65” a bit. I prefer my action a little less jarring, my thrills more suspense than offense, but that’s just me. 

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