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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Emmanuelle Vaugier, Luke Goss, Charlie Murphy and Tonantzin Carmelo
Icon Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 18 August 2008

In a small New Mexico town, an archaeological dig disturbs an extraterrestrial creature which has lain asleep for 900 years. It attacks a truck driver, and the resulting accident brings down the phone lines and blocks the only road in and out. Local sheriff Annie has a past she would rather forget and a consequential habitual drink problem. The Peublo inhabitants are just waiting to oust her at the next elections. Very soon she finds herself investigating a series of cattle mutilations; her only clue a small crustacean-like appendage, which her botanist friend informs her has a cell structure unlike anything seen before. When the creature begins to attack and infest the citizens of Peublo, the survivors, along with a few stranded travellers, become obliged to put their trust in a sheriff they don't like, and a young Native American who knows more about the creature than anyone...

Take Tremors, mix vigorously with Alien, cover with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and sprinkle with Pitch Black. Place in the oven for 89 minutes and you'll get an Unearthly Mess - I mean, Unearthed. Here's one they made earlier.

Films written and directed by the same person (particularly those new to the field) can often be brilliantly inspirational - a project nurtured and grown over time. Instead of stamping his own originality and character on the industry, here Matthew Lentwyler has collected together a sack of old ideas. In fact, Unearthed is full to the brim of movie clichés. There's the old and wise Red Indian (or Native American) man, the alcoholic character with a guilty past, the violent but good-at-heart Riddick-like anti-hero, and the scientist that knows more than they would in real life. Even the centre piece creature loses its power, so to speak, very early on, and becomes a poor Alien look-alike - even emulating the face to face salivating scene. The remotely-operated model shots are okay, but the special effects used for the quick movements of the creature look 'cartoony', which is unforgivable when seamless CGI can be created for regular use in TV and advertising.

The actors fall into their stereotyped characterisations pretty easily, and appear to feel no need to push the boundaries of their performances. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Luke Goss (why do most singers and comedians think they are the next best actor?), who destroyed my previous misconception that he is only a has-been teenie-bopper. I suppose I should have known: if visionary director Guillermo Del Torro is utilising him in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, he can't be that bad.

This all seems to point to the conclusion that Unearthed is derisible - it's not. But it is no better than average. Extras include: Behind the Scenes, and Interviews.


Ty Power

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