Altered – 6

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Director – Eduardo Sanchez

Cast – Adam Kaufman, Misty Rosas, Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Brad William Henke, Michael C. Williams, Catherine Mangan, James Gammon, Joe Unger

Release Year – 2006

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Writer/director Eduardo Sanchez made a name for himself with 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, which he co-write/directed with Daniel Myrick.  It was not until 2006 that Mr. Sanchez returned to the horror genre with another “project”, a extraterrestrial film titled Altered.  While this flick comes with some flaws I am unwilling to forgive, it still comes off as an OK watch thanks for a few fun and gory elements thrown in.

15 years ago a group of friends suffered an attack from an alien race, an attack that not only took the lives of one of them but left them the laughing stock of a town that would not believe their claims.  It is now present time and the knuckleheads of the group have made their way back to the site of the incident and caught a live alien themselves.  They bring it to the home of the only person they know that can help them, their buddy Wyatt(Adam Kaufman).  The guys had a falling out with Wyatt over the incident due to him recanting his statements and leaving them to take all of the blame, which he believes he did for the right reason.  Things get worse for the group when the alien is badly injured, then manages to escape into the dark corners of Wyatt’s home.  It is now up to the guys to contain the beast, and for Wyatt to contain his friends.  His friends want vengeance against the alien, and wish to give it a very violent death.  Wyatt knows that if the alien is killed more of them will come and get their own vengeance against the human race.  A battle then ensues between the level headed Wyatt, his knuckleheaded friends, and one very pissed off alien.

I liked that this flick gave me some live-action alien horror.  Alien horror is rare these days so I was obviously happy to see it incorporated into this flick.  The alien may come off a bit comical at times, but that only adds to the fun of this film which according to rumors was originally slated to be a horror/comedy, so it makes sense.  The conflict in this film was not merely reserved for the alien usage but I will make a fair guess that the majority of conflict was character oriented.  Yes that is right, CHARACTER conflict in an alien film.  Personally, I found this cool and thought that most of the conflict was right on in quality and was quite convincing.  Positive writing and a great performance from “hick guy” made this happen.

Sanchez’s direction is positive, and he gave us a surprising amount for a film that I did not least expect to be very gory.  From the get-go this film comes off as a character driven spook-fest but in fact becomes a bit more slapstick as the film progresses.  A little sneak hint: we get a tug of war scene between one of our protagonists and the alien, only thing is…instead of using a rope they are using the protagonist’s intestines!  Yup, pretty sweet scene that I never saw coming.

My biggest complaint against this flick was the use of the female lead, which I found highly irrelevant and downright pathetic.  For one, her dialogue was horrendous and although she provided “conflict”, she was horribly written and the only conflict she provided was in annoying me.  To make matters worse, this was compounded by an equally bad acting performance that left me in agony every time she stenched the screen.  Other than her character and subsequent acting performance I really have no major complaints with this film, just keep in mind that a flick with this film’s plot can only be “so” good.

Overall, this is a decent watch that comes from a director who had a big void to fill after the success of his premier film, The Blair Witch Project.  While we never get much alien-oriented films these days, films like Alien Raiders and Slither would be better modern alien flicks to watch over this one.

Rating: 6/10

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