Director – Ben Rock
Cast – Carlos Bernard, Matthew St. Patrick, Rockmond Dunbar, Courtney Ford, Jeffrey Licon, Samantha Streets, Derek Basco, Bonita Friedericy
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Here is a film that got quite a bit of advertising in the horror world, and after noticing that my favorite actor from the show 24, Carlos Bernard, was starring in the film, I HAD to see it. Not only was I given an above average film on a below average budget, but this film also stars a few other television icon sin Mathew St. Patrick(Six Feet Under), Rockmond Dunbar(Prison Break), and Bonita Friedericy(Chuck).
The film follows Benny and Whitney who are lowly employees at a local grocery store in the small, unknown town of Buck Lake. It’s a slow night and the crew are locking up the store when a group of armed intruders lead by Aaron Ritter(Carlos Bernard) storm into the building and begin shooting people who they believe to be aliens thanks to a “spotter”(someone who can see aliens) in their group. However, during the ensuing carnage Ritter’s “spotter” is killed by an off-duty officer, who also called for backup. Ritter’s group must now go into Plan B mode, which involves a very, VERY makeshift way of finding out which of the remaining employees and last-minute shoppers are aliens. With the group surrounded by officers outside of the grocery store, the situation worsens when they find out that a “King” alien is among them, one that is not only virtually unstoppable, but is traveling from host to host among the remaining survivors. Sounds like the plot from The Thing eh?
I was very surprised at how well this film turned out. At the beginning of the film I was not sure what to expect, as it seemed to be taking a while to get to the plot of the film. But with time, the plot developed, started making a lot more sense, and was actually pretty darn interesting. I really liked the backstory behind the group led by Ritter, as they were basically mercenaries out killing and tracking down aliens living among us. How freakin cool is that?1? The majority of this film takes place inside the grocery store, which I actually enjoyed given I love plots that have the protagonists and antagonists stuck in an atmosphere they cannot escape from. The film also did not skimp away from the use of guns, which as you should know by now…is something I always love to see in films. Haha! Now onto the gore! I really liked the gore used in this film, it wasn’t as over-the-top as I was expecting, but we did see some cool gore scenes as well as a very…unique and painful way of verifying whether or not someone is an alien after the “spotter” dies.
The acting in this film is pretty solid, given that most of the main cast are somewhat veteran actors. However in the end I felt that there could have been some improvements made to the film, especially when it came to the gore. The gore was great, but I was just left expecting a bit more given the circumstances involved in a low budget alien film, where gore is always a must. The pacing in the film went by very well, but I did not like the fact that it took so long for the third act to come into play. Had the second act been trimmed a bit, especially with some of the scenes of useless dialogue, and the third made a bit longer, then this film may have received a higher rating. I have a feeling the biggest issue viewers will have with this film is the bleak ending. It’s pretty darn quick, and will leave the viewer thinking “For real? Are you serious?”. I had the twist figured out way before the ending, I just had no idea it would be delivered to us in the fashion that it was. Oh well, it’s not necessarily a bad ending, it just was very simple and obviously did not take much time to write.
Overall, this is an above average low budget film that surprisingly delivers a cool plot with some fun scenes. Check this out but don’t expect it to surpass Alien or The Thing.