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.


  1. LOVED THIS! I was so excited to see you tackle this because I have come close to purchasing the DVD several times.

    There was something about it that drew my attention. There was a feeling that it would be just pure sci-fi action, plain and simple.

    Your reading of it has interpreted the film to be about what I expect to get. Perhaps I will dive in at some point and give it a go with low expectations of course. Excellent.

  2. Thanks, Gordon. I was underwhelmed because I was hoping for a horror movie... but I still liked it for what it was. In fact, I was surprised that it worked as well as it did considering the budget. If you check it out, let me know what you think.