Friday, October 05, 2012
30 Days of Nightmares #9: ALIEN RAIDERS (2008)
The Story: A small-town supermarket becomes the setting of a hostage crisis when alien hunters trap a body snatcher inside.
Expectations: I read somewhere that this was an interesting variation on INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. In spite of a Netflix synopsis that made it sound like more of a low-budget ALIENS ripoff, I was hoping for a semi-intelligent horror film.
Reaction: Comparisons to ALIENS and John Carpenter's THE THING are valid, but this is not really a science fiction film or a horror film. Author Bruce Kawin defines both genres by making a philosophical distinction between them: "Horror emphasizes the dread of knowing, the danger of curiosity, while science fiction emphasizes the danger and irresponsibility of the closed mind." ALIENS RAIDERS doesn't really have a philosophy because it's mostly a mindless action movie, jazzed up by some sci-fi story elements, a touch of suspense, and one brief horror sequence that is very reminiscent of THE THING.
I generally don't like action movies that masquerade as sci-fi/horror movies. I think the combination is better suited to video games. To be fair, this one announced itself up front with a pointlessly flashy opening credit sequence. I wouldn't be surprised if the filmmakers simply hired someone else to create an alien-themed music video and then tacked it into the front of their movie. That said, I guess I knew what I was getting into.
The story is nothing special -- there are some major gaps in logic (many of them dealing with police procedure) and you can see the ending coming a mile away -- but the acting is solid and, in general, the movie is fun. Bottom line: There are about two million movies that attempt to duplicate ALIENS and THE THING on an ultra-low budget. As far as that tired DTV subgenre goes, you could do a lot worse than ALIEN RAIDERS.
Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: THE THING sequence is fairly suspenseful and believably acted.
Labels: 30 Days of Nightmares