Evil Aliens

Starring: Emily Booth, Jamie Honeybourne, Samuel Butler, Jodie Shaw and Peter McNeil O'Connor
Universal Pictures
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 25 September 2006

Scalleum is a sinister and remote farming island off the north coast of Wales, only accessible at low tide via a causeway known as the 'Devils Spine'. The locals are a bizarre mob of inbred weirdo's and the island is also home to an ancient stone circle known as the 'Devils Teeth'. This provides the setting for the terrifying alien abduction of local farm girl Cat Williams. When a TV crew start to investigate the mysterious event they soon realise they are not alone...?

Evil Aliens (or Jake West's Evil Aliens to give it its full title) is a British movie which takes the good old fashioned zombie horror genre and changes the setting slightly. The closest comparison I could think of was Peter Jackson's cult movie Bad Taste. Apart from the similar premise, possibly the one line that is closest to Bad Taste is the "No one f*cks with a UFO enthusiast" double meaning line, which is delivered in a similar way to the "Derek's don't run" line from Bad Taste.

From the opening scene with the gory alien anal probe (what is it with aliens and anal probes anyway?) you realise that you are in for something of splatter fest - although it's the closing 20 minutes where everything goes gore crazy.

And it's not the aliens that come to a messy end - they actually get fairly quick death scenes (mainly being killed when their helmets are removed and they asphyxiate). The only really gory end the aliens meet is when our heroes find a combine harvester and start mowing the monsters threat down (personally my favourite scene). The humans, on the other hand, meet with a succession of grisly ends - including being impaled (from anus to mouth) on a large stake; having various limbs pulled off; and being ripped apart from inside by an alien foetus.

The photography, music, effects and basic story are all better than I was expecting for a low budget independent movie - in fact I think it's fair to say that these elements put many Hollywood movies, with much higher budgets, to shame. And, for this alone, it's easy to understand why the movie has received so many awards. However, what did let the film down quite badly was a lot of the acting - but then a lot of this can be put down to the dialogue in the script. Emily Booth ranges from okay to embarrassing and most of the other principle actors are not much better. In fact the only actors who made me believe that they weren't reading from a script were Jamie Honeybourne (as Gavin Gorman); Jennifer Evans (as Cat Williams); and Chris Adamson (as Welsh farmer Llyr Williams). Even Norman Lovett's cameo appearance was pretty ropey.

Honeybourne is wonderfully funny as Gorman, Head of the British UFO Research Committee (BURC). Some of his funniest moments include him talking about the time he nearly collapsed a church by re-routing a lay line; his delight when he thinks he's discovered another Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fan; running, in his pyjamas to kiss the crop circle; and destroying the fake crop circle so that the camera crew can't film it and claim it as a real alien construction.

There are so many subtle horror movie references and fantastic throw away lines that you're really going to have to watch this a few times to really appreciate it. I loved the irony of the sound man losing his sight, as well as the various nods to the whole ridiculous clichés that these movies usually rely upon to create tension. One of the best examples of this is when the crew all jump into the minibus to escape the aliens and our hero turns around to the rest of them and says: "I bet anyone £50 it won't start". It's the fact that he looks genuinely disappointed when it does start first time and they can escape easily that had me laughing like a loon.

Extras include a featurette that interviews the director and main actors (36 mins); additional scenes (21 mins) a lot of which really should have been left in as there are some really great gags; 7 mins of outtakes; a guided tour of Life Creations (5 mins look inside Life Creations ) and a trailer. It's a crying shame that the director didn't provide an audio commentary though, as that would have been well worth listening to.

An enjoyable romp that would have been a lot better if the acting had been up to scratch and someone had rewritten some of the bad dialogue in the script. Fans of zombie horror movies will love it.

Darren Rea

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