Evil Aliens Review
Written by: Jethro
On the remote Welsh Island of Scalleum local cattle raiser Cat is doing the wild thing with some drifter. Naturally this movie being named EVIL ALIENS abduction goes down, with Cat getting impregnated and the drifter finding out fears about anal probes and Aliens are well founded.
A bad day for Cat, an even worse day for the drifter, but excellent news for Foxy who is in danger of having her tabloid show "Weird Worlde" cancelled. Foxy heads towards the Island with an assortment of losers to film a feature around the abduction. We get the cameraman, sound recorder, a porn star, a gay actor, and a UFO expert in the team. Wonder if Sixty Minutes uses the same makeup during their stories? But I digress, on with the plot. Naturally Foxy and crew don’t believe anything happened, and are out to do lame re-enactments and treat the whole thing as something of a lark.
When the actual Aliens make an appearance, Foxy and crew must join forces with the local Welsh Hillbillies to fight off their evil intents. Much carnage, referencing, and not a few funny moments ensue as the battle heats up. Death by Combine Harvester, sign me up!
Ready to use the force Luke?
"Let’s go harvest us some aliens!" - Llyr Williams
Okay for the first review of a Brit horror flick I choose Jake West’s second movie EVIL ALIENS, his long overdue follow up to the interesting debut feature RAZOR BLADE SMILE. And what a stunningly good choice it was, taking into account the six bucks the region four DVD set me back. If you like early Peter Jackson fare you will be right at home here. The emphasis in this movie is to let the claret flow, hit that gore train like a wild thing, and have a hell of a good time in doing so. West knows what he is about with EVIL ALIENS, and uses a low budget to produce the best "B" grade horror/comedy thus far this Century. The only question I was left with was what is the Brit obsession with Combine Harvesters?
Director West shows in this movie that Edgar Wright’s influence on Brit moviemakers is gaining in strength. We get some very similar techniques in use. Quick montages, rapid action followed by freeze frames, and a wonderful use of locations. Here West uses a pretty desolate location to its best advantage in framing the action going down. Even more importantly West knows he has a cheap movie on his hands, so layers on the gore and humour to great effect. Even Wright would have pulled up short of some of the shock tactics West utilizes to have the audience simultaneously groaning at the gross bits, while trying not to break into laughter at the situations it is used in. Exhibit "A" would be Foxy getting down and dirty while the local yokels watch on through holes in the wall and, uhmmm, self pleasure themselves. You have this whole "ewww" thing going down, accompanied by a broad grin, and are left wondering how West pulled the whole thing off. Okay could have constructed that last sentence better.
West is heavily indebted to early Peter Jackson epics and is not afraid to wink at the audience over that debt. The EVIL ALIENS Ufologist is a clear descendant of Derek from BAD TASTE fame, and the sharp eyed amongst the audience will pick up on one scene that features a clear nod towards BRAIN DEAD. In a genre that is very heavy in "influences" it’s nice to note a filmmaker prepared to acknowledge where his/her concepts and visuals originated. Though it must be said West is giving Jackson a run for his money on the gore level.
Speaking of gore, don’t expect anything from the Eli Roth book of how to make a movie where you have no frigging idea exactly what tiger you have by the tail. West is well aware of what he is doing, goes full throttle, and doesn’t rub the audiences nose in torture or gorenography. The gore here is working, just like it did for Peter Jackson. Fans of the fore mentioned Jackson epics, EVIL DEAD, or in fact the U.S splatter comedy SLITHER can dial in safe in the knowledge that West is not venturing into the exploitation end of the "B" grade theme park. West is handling himself with some decorum and keeps to the reservation on all things blood drenched.
The really cool thing about EVIL ALIENS is that West uses his influences, but adds some extra gravy to the whole experience with out falling into the "seen that, got the t-shirt" trap. The combine harvester thing is already a cult horror iconic image. The strong male lead, sacrificing himself, two strong female leads, and the whole local yokel "the good, the bad, the ugly" makes for an absorbing statement. West might be influenced, but you have never quite seen a movie like EVIL ALIENS before.
In terms of the Aliens we have a real potpourri of things going down. Once again the influences are there for all to see, but given a wide re-interpretation from previous movies. West clearly enjoyed himself while watching the PREDATOR movies judging from the facemasks and weapons the Aliens unlimber throughout. There’s a hint of the SPECIES movies with the female Aliens, limber little vixens they are. And there’s a dash of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS in terms of spacecraft guidance systems. Well okay a few wasted teenage years would be needed to pick up on all that, but once again nothing is exactly duplicated from the previous movies.
West is on song with his script, and nothing is left to chance. There’s no lagging in the movie, plot devices are tied up by the end credits, and the one liners come thick and fast. A story line about lay lines is introduced early, keeps getting referenced, and then is hammered home during the resolution. End of movie you will not be left wondering what happened to any of the characters, why something that seemed important early never got re-used, and what exactly was the point of certain scenes. Another example of how well the current crop of Brit scriptwriters know their craft.
On the downside of this hack and slice job the CGI was woefully amateur hour, budget constraints, and that banana peel schlock was strictly undergraduate. The movie over all didn’t suffer for some slight plot developments required by the script, but if you want to be nit picking those are your areas to sharpen the knife over.
Acting as you would expect from a "B" grade movie isn’t one of the strengths of EVIL ALIENS. No one is exactly putting their hands up for a role in a future Hollywood blockbuster, but the cast work for the movie and there are no out and out bad performances. Emily Booth (Foxy) was perhaps the best of the whole crowd, but that isn’t saying much.
In terms of T&A West kind of forgot boobs are a mandatory requirement of "B" grade horror movies. Emily does do cleavage well, and I guess one uber flexible Alien Chick let it all hang out for the sexual deviants; the Wayans Bros would have been applauding the climax there! Lades get some bare bums in amongst the tomato sauce.
Richard Wells textured on an effective score that had me applauding. However the highlight has to be the playing of The Wurzels 1970s number "I've Got A Brand New Combine Harvester". See it’s that Brit combine harvester requirement again.
I had some real good times with EVIL ALIENS and gave the movie a standing ovation when the end credits rolled. The movie touched base with every single requirement I had going into it, and beside the odd low point, was a good romp in the splatter filled hay. Director West made sure I was aware of where he was coming from, and then added the sauce to my expectations. In my book of counted cinema wrongs, if you can add something unique to the mixture then I’m high fiving. Can’t wait for the next feature from this talented filmmaker.
EVIL ALIENS doesn’t appear to have gotten much of a cinema distribution anywhere, and you have to wonder why not. Considering the crud that is hitting cinemas in the name of horror, something is very wrong here. For the purposes of this review I watched the Region Four DVD release and someone needs a smack in the mouth for that release. We get mucho trailers playing before the movie, and I for one would prefer those to be a menu selection rather than enforced pre-feature viewing. On the subject of trailers who the flock decided "Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber" would be a great idea on a DVD of EVIL ALIENS? The package was crying out for some decent extras, but Downunder we got nadda, nothing, a stand-alone feature.
If you like movies on the raw side of the cooking then dig on into EVIL ALIENS, there’s a lot of steak to chow down on with the sizzle. For those who have more refined tastes then this isn’t going to make your top ten dinner party menus. The movie is crude, rude, and doesn’t try to bat out of it’s league. An intriguing mix of previous movie conventions, new innovations, Jake West has nailed a cult classic. Fire up the combine harvester, we’re got Aliens to deal with here.