Sunday, September 11, 2005

Evil Aliens

Jake West, a self-professed Phantasm nut and director of the splat-stick horror-sci-fi-comedy Evil Aliens, is not afraid to wear his references on his sleeve. For those paying attention, his film draws heavily from the template of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste, and combines a smattering sample platter of Brain Dead, Alien, Predator, Evil Dead II, Krull, Near Dark, Jaws and Night of the Living Dead to his own finely tuned sense of self-awarenes in the genre. And to push the envelope a tiny bit further, he adds a dollop or two of gratuitous sex (often inter-terrestrial).

The ridiculously simple story (with tongue firmly in cheek) takes a while to set up, but when things get going, the splat really hits the fan. A sexy reporter for an alien abduction trast TV show follows up on a lead about an alien abduction in the Welsh countryside which may have resulted in an alien pregnancy. She gathers her crew of misfits including the testosterone laden cameraman and boom operator, a gay actor and a blonde stripper to do the 're-enactment' scenes, and an internet space-sightings geek who is more than just a bit similar to Peter Jackson's Derek. Of course the abductee lives in an ramshackle farmhouse with three exceedingly hick brothers on an island that gets surrounded by water as the tides come in. As one characters puts it resoundingly well: "How'd I not see that one coming!"

The aliens exist mainly as cannon fodder for the increasingly gory and elaborate set pieces featuring an array of farm equipment (occasionally accompanied by the appropriate musical number) and familiair zombie-hunting weaponry. West comes up with a startlingly novel use for a full sized crucifix. The interior of alien space-ship is explored both for purposes of skewering abduction-and-probing paranoia and a hilarious riff on Disney's Flight of The Navigator and the old Red Neck Rampage video game.

Evil Aliens is very, very heavy on the in-jokes, and will probably play best to fans of the genre (and will require multiple viewings to catch all of West's verbal and visual references), but there is enough in there as well for the uninitiated to have a good laugh. The only thing that is keeping it from becoming a classic in its own right is that it often plays as a greatest hits record than standing fully on its own.


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7:52 p.m.  

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