Film Review: AT FIRST LIGHT (Canada 2017) ***

At First Light Poster

The film follows a high school senior, Alex Lainey, who has an encounter with mysterious lights that appear over her small town. She soon develops dangerous, supernatural abilities and …See full summary »


Jason Stone


Jason StoneJason Stone (story by) | 1 more credit »

AT FIRST LIGHT is a low budget Canadian sci-fi suspense drama set in s small American town.  (The film according to the imdb database had shooting locations in Nevada but the closing credits give acknowledgement to the town of Porterville, California.)  AT FIRST LIGHT is impressive for the reason that it is a small film, all departments performing at their best.

Do not expect the special effects of sci-fi first contact blockbusters movies like FIRST CONTACT, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and ARRIVAL.  The only spaceship effects are six or so circular mysterious orbs of lights in the sky that a driver chases at the start of the film.  The best of the special effects are the levitation of a vehicle from the ground.  But these suit the movie.  nothing more elaborate would give the impression of falsehood.

AT FIRST LIGHT is a film about first contact.  This film intelligently shows that first contact need not be physical.  It occurs as light, experienced by Alex (Stefanie Scott) when she swims and is affected by the light of the film title.  She experiences her life flashing through her brain and finally emerges dazed and confused from the contact.  The story starts from this point.

Sean (Théodore Pellerin), her childhood friend who has a crush on her, and Alex go on the run after this close encounter with the mysterious orbs of light.  Alex learns that she has  extraordinary powers that she has no idea how to control – pretty much like SPIDER-MAN  learning how to use his super powers – them.   As the two flee from their families, the police and a covert government agency, Alex and Sean find themselves at the centre of an unprecedented event in human history.  First contact.   As her powers grow stronger and more dangerous, Sean must decide whether staying with Alex and discovering the truth behind her transformation is worth dying for.

The actors, mostly young teens deliver outstanding performances, that should make them rising stars.  A few of them are already well known and have been in other films  The main lead, Alex, played by Stefanie Scott has been in the INSIDIOUS movie.  Théodore Pellerin has been seen in ITS ONY THE END OF THE WORLD and last year’s BOOST, my favourite Canadian film of the year.

The film can cater to cinephiles, sci-fi fans and even teenagers.  Despite its simplified story-line the filmmaker and crew has proven once again it is not the story in the movie that counts, but how the story is told.  AT FIRST SIGHT might not be the best movie of the week but it is certainly the one most worth a look at.


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