Review: INVASION

Posted by Peter Hall - April 29th 2008 @ 8:04 pm

Directed by Albert Pyun, 2005
Written by Cynthia Curnan

This INVASION film spent years under the title INFECTION before its US DVD release. I am not sure why the name was changed. I feel that INFECTION and INVASION are both capable of referring to extra terrestrial maladies, yet neither is any more original or any less generic than the other. The only logical conclusion is that Lionsgate forced the name change in the hope that people would pay for their movie in an accidental attempt to watch Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig run from pod people.

After all, who in their sane mind is going to shell out dollars and cents for a film that is comprised of 63 uninterrupted minutes of in-dash HD footage shot from a cop’s cruiser perusing the back roads of an expansive park the night it is pounded by crashing meteors? Meteors in all their SLITHER-ey, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS-ey alien worm carrying splendor, that is? And did I mention INVASION is an Albert Pyun film? Master craftsman of films’ whose titles are often less absurd than the films themselves. Films you’ve seen like CYBORG, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER, and ones you hope not to: BRAIN SMASHER… A LOVE STORY, ADRENALIN: FEAR THE RUSH*, NEMESIS III: PREY HARDER, OMEGA DOOM, KICKBOXER 4: THE AGGRESSOR, and MAX HAVOC: CURSE OF THE DRAGON.

Who indeed would plunk down a rental fee for a camera that never, ever leaves its dashboard? Not me. I’m the guy who pays $20 for it at Best Buy. That was before I had any clue what it was about. [Confession: I like to go to Best Buy from time to time and just grab something I know nothing about.  The results are usually not very good.] If I had known it was 63 minutes of a camera that never, ever leaves the dashboard of a car, I assure you I’d of talked myself out of it. But, ya know what, I’m going to go out on a limb and confess I kind of liked it. It’s either that or I admit wasting $20.

Sure Pyun’s INVASION has problems out the vajayjay, but it also has a bourgeois charm to it. The acting is, well, functional in the sense that people acted out characters and thoughts that were not their own. 95% of the movie is voice acting and even that needs work. The special effects are remedial. They aren’t even of an era gone by. They are just plain simple. No one in their right mind would ever believe that this was, “Based on Real Events”, and yet Pyun turns the other cheek and pretends he has an illusion of reality here. INVASION is too over produced to be considered amateur footage and yet too amateur of a production to ever be taken straight.

What it does have, however, is an astounding 5.1 surround sound mix. The slick soundtrack is what sustains the eeriness to INVASION. In point of order, it is the only thing that sustains eeriness. Growls, screams and elusive animal gurgles dance around the room with stark polarity. I’ll even go so far as to say it has the most diverse surround mix of any STD flick I’ve caught in a while. Granted, if you don’t have a 5.1 system, this really isn’t going to mean much to you. In fact, I fear without the atmospheric nature all those sounds may stack together in an annoying squeal.

Aside from the sound, the only other saving grace is the film’s admitted gimmick; 63 minutes of uninterrupted dashboard filming. Which is to say, have you ever seen a film comprised of uncut dash-cam? I suspect that you have not. At least it is different, right? Is it the apex of terror? No, far from, but it is a unique angle all the same.

INVASION feels like a film that you and a handful of your friends could have made. It is low-budget, low-rent, low-talent guerrilla filmmaking, which I admit to admire a great deal — even when the end result is nothing to knock your socks off. INVASION doesn’t even go so far as to attempt to untie your shoe laces, however it has a blue-collar spirit that keeps things in perspective. Would you rather have some 4th rate filmmaker making another terrible knock off of excuse of a film about a town invaded by orifice entering aliens that brings nothing new to that already crowded potluck or would you rather give a shot to someone who wants to change things up a bit? (And spend a grand total of what looks like $40 in the process)

I for one appreciate the motive. The product isn’t a total wash either, which is a bonus. Plus, I just couldn’t resist a DVD cover that looked ripped from a book I would have read in the fourth grade.

*Oh, and ADRENALIN: FEAR THE RUSH may just be best title I’ve ever heard.


rss 4 comments
  1. Adrian
    April 30th, 2008 | 12:18 am | #1

    The cover calls it a Tour de Force but it sounds more like a Tour de Ford.

  2. April 30th, 2008 | 5:03 am | #2

    I don’t share genes with you.

  3. April 30th, 2008 | 9:06 am | #3

    Yeah, they should have swapped that quote for:

    “…has problems out the vajayjay”
    –Peter Hall, HorrorsNotDead.com

    I would have turned this movie away just by the typeface they used for the title on the movie jacket. There’s something to be said for judging books by covers, you know.

  4. R.J. Sayer
    April 30th, 2008 | 1:49 pm | #4

    hey, i actually LIKE Brain Smasher.

    oh… and i would’ve been curious because of the cover (book in 4th grade – nail on the head, Peter)… but then would’ve read the back.

    and would’ve set it back on the shelf.

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