Review: ALIEN RAIDERS


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Directed by Ben Rock, 2008
Written by Julia Fair, David Simkins

I suppose I could listen to the audio commentary that director Ben Rock posted online not too long ago and find an answer, but I wonder if the original script for ALIEN RAIDERS bore the same title.  Even if it was intentional, a moniker as generic as that does no justice in selling on accuracy.  A title like ALIEN RAIDERS implies a low budget, low talent premiere on The Most Dangerous Night of Television.  Ben Rock’s film may be low budget and I’ve no doubt that the Sauron eye of the Sci-Fi channel has this indie in its acquisition sights, but ALIEN RAIDERS is a head above its namesake.

Watching it I was reminded of another recent indie buzzer (coincidentally purchased post production for a Saturday night premiere on the Sci-Fi channel), SPLINTER (review).  Fortunately the memory ends only in contrast.  Where SPLINTER’s ambitions were skewered by an inability to deliver on the grandiose, ALIEN RAIDERS finds inventive ways to disguise shortcomings, transforming obstacles into merits.  This is what indie horror is about.

Set entirely in and around a supermarket, Julia Fair and David Simkins’ script somersaults into an armed group who have taken siege of said market with the intent of rooting out an ambiguous parasite that has found host in at least one of the small town denizens.  A hostage scenario ensues, cops are called, experiments are carried out, fingers are chopped off in the name of alien investigation.  All the while the unlucky few left in the store have no inkling as to the true breadth of the situation.  Neither does the audience, but mere minutes in Ben Rock convinces all involved should stick around to find out.

Last Week in Horror News: February 15th to the 22nd.


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Dreadful week for news.

Theatrical Trailers and Clips

None.

Studio News and Attachments

  • FROZEN – Helmed by Adam Green, A Bigger Boat’s first production gets its central triumvirate cast: Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore and Emma Bell.
  • DEAD AT 17 – Vanessa Hudgens wants the lead role in the adaptation of the comic series about a dead girl tasked with saving mankind, which sounds exactly like the plot of the great game PAINKILLER except with a teen.
  • PRIDE AND PREDATOR – Elton John is producing a movie that finds an alien crash landing and slaughtering the protagonists of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  My god.

Remakes

  • STEP FATHER – The same shameless group who did PROM NIGHT garner nothing harder than a PG-13 once again.
  • THE CRAZIES – Photoshop promo poster out for the Olyphant starring remake.

Indie, Foreign and Random News

  • JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER 2 – The official MySpace page confirms that production is a foot on the indie sequel.
  • ALIEN RAIDERS – Ben Rock and his cast and crew have published a commentary for the well talked ALIEN RAIDERS online as it was curiously absent from the DVD.

Non-Theatrical Trailers and Clips

  • HUMAINS – New trailer.
  • RED SANDS – Nine minute long clip.
  • CALLER ID – Trailer that delivers exactly what that title implies.
  • BLOOD RIVER – Full trailer for Adam Mason’s latest.

February 2009 Horror DVD and Blu-ray List.


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Not sure if anyone cares but me, but I’ll be covering more Blu-ray titles from here on out.  Also, dipping out of the spectrum of this site real quick, but 2008’s best documentary, DEAR ZACHARY: A LETTER TO A SON ABOUT HIS FATHER, comes out.  I highly, highly, highly recommend seeing it.  NetflixAmazon.


February 3rd:

In advanced honor cashing-in-on of the Platinum Dunes FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot, new additions of Parts 1-3 have hit on DVD.  Sadly the first part is the only one available on Blu-ray in the states, whereas all three are on BRD in the UK.  Shrug.  Part 3 is also in full 3-D for the first time on disc.

Continuing with the hockey mask is the documentary HIS NAME WAS JASON which chronicles the culture of Voorhees.  It’s not quite as good as HALLOWEEN 25 YEARS OF TERROR, but it’s worth a Netflix for completist fans.

Then of course there are the Straight-to-DVDs fo the week, BLACK SWARM and KILLER MOVIE.  I don’t know anything about either, though a lot can be inferred from their covers.


February 10th:

Stepping just outside the genre, but still in the realm of science fiction, we have BLINDNESS.  The rather tepid response it got from critics had me in no rush to see BLINDNESS at a theater, but CONSTANT GARDNER and CITY OF GOD director Fernando Meirelles has me interested in the story of a world struck with an outbreak of, well, look at the title.

MY NAME IS BRUCE also got a general consensus of ‘meh’ so I’ve yet to see.  Game on now, though.  Also available on Blu-ray.

Steven Segal + vampires = AGAINST THE DARK.

Kicking off the trifecta of red themed titles of the month is RED MIST, once known as FREAKDOG, from Paddy Breathnach.  I’m not a fan at all of the wasted potential that was Breathnach’s SHROOMS, but I’ll give RED MIST a shot.

Second up is RED VICTORIA which judging from its cover looks in the vamp fantasy vein, but IMDb lists a plot about a person, “forced to write a horror movie by an undead muse who motivates him by killing his friends and family.”  Could be passable.

FRIDAY THE 13TH THE SERIES VOLUME 2 is exactly what that mouthful explains.  THE LODGER is a remake of Hitchcock’s THE LODGER, though the filmmakers would rather you think of it as a retelling of the novel THE LODGER.  Either way it calls upon Alfred Molina, which gives it slightly more credibility.

Also, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE hits Blu-ray.  Not a horror title by any stretch, but it is David Cronenberg, this site’s favorite director.  Already have my pre-order in.

Edit: And to add TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE because apparently I’m the biggest asshole ever for forgetting it.


February 17th:

Ugh.  FEAST III: THE HAPPY FINISH.  FEAST II (review) was an awful, awful, awful movie and I have no reason whatsoever to think that things are going to turn around.  They couldn’t even get their lame sex-subtitle right.  Is it not a HAPPY ENDING, not a HAPPY FINISH?  Never going to see this.

Ah, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (review).  If you haven’t caught this OnDemand yet, today it finally hits DVD and BRD.  I’m rather indifferent to the film.  By no stretch is it a bad movie, but I wasn’t all that blown away, either.  I’ll be giving it a second shot at some point.

QUARANTINE (review) doesn’t need much explanation.  If you’ve not seen [REC] and don’t feel like buying a Canadian copy, which is surprisingly not a euphemism for bootleg, I suppose QUARANTINE will do.  It’s whatevs.

Remember SCREAMERS?  Kind of?  Get ready for SCREAMERS: THE RISING.

Last up of the STD titles is ALIEN RAIDERS, which I’ve heard very good things about.  Expect a review later in the month.


February 24th:

In advanced honor cashing-in-on the remake of THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a new “unrated” copy of Wes Craven’s first film.  I’m no lover of the seasoned shocker so I won’t be replacing my older, never watched copy of the film.

If the DVD cover doesn’t give it away, CYCLOPS was a Sci-Fi channel premiere.  I caught bits and pieces of it and well, that cover delivers and then some.  Unlike most films on The Most Dangerous Night of Television, the eponymous beast actually doesn’t look a Sega Saturn rendering, more like a Playstation 2, and is actually shown quite a lot.

Expect a review of RED SANDS at some point, the newest flick from the guys behind DEAD BIRDS (review).  I’m really digging the cover which looks straight out of 1997.  I’m game.

I dodged THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY at theaters and will continue to do so on DVD.

EPITAPH is a Korean horror flick set in a hospital in the ’40s.  Like most films following the bust of Korea’s new wave of cinema, EPITAPH isn’t bad, but it’s nothing spectacular.

I’m hugely behind on Dario Argento.  Behind as in I’ve only seen two or three of the Italian maestro’s films.  Shrug.  February gives us FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET on DVD and THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE on Blu-Ray.

Also, AKIRA on Blu-ray.  Not horror, but the audience overlap makes it worth mentioning.


Netflix’ing the Month:

  1. THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
  2. ALIEN RAIDERS
  3. MY NAME IS BRUCE
  4. AGAINST THE DARK
  5. RED SANDS
  6. RED MIST



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