Here we go everyone, the first movie to be pulled out of the junkyard is AvH: Alien vs. Hunter. Jeanne & I watched this one together on a quiet January night and it was quite an interesting feature.
This Asylum-produced movie was made apparently in response to the big budget, but poorly received Alien Vs Predator: Requiem by Fox.
The movie centers on a group of survivors attempting to escape the carnage of the Alien and Hunter, after two objects crash land in a small mountain town.
For the first half of the movie, the plot sticks pretty close to that of AvP:R, but after the cast go on the run for help the movie stand out on its own. Many comparisons will obviously be drawn to AvP:R, but this Direct-to-DVD “Mockbuster” surprisingly has more character development than the big-budget film. You actually get a sense that a few of the characters are more than bodies to pad the creature’s kill count. William Katt stars in the film as Lee Custler, a journalist who is down on his luck, and is one of the reasons I was excited to see this flick. I loved Katt in House (1986) another film that may show up in the Junkyard someday, since it sadly has never gotten the attention it deserves as a B-style campy horror film. A few shocks and twists may take you by surprise, but otherwise the movie is a pretty straightforward affair.
The pacing is slow but tolerable, and it seems that director Scott Harper tried to channel Ridley Scott by not showing us too much of the creatures too early. Then again, that most likely comes from a reported budget of $500,000. The movie is filled with lots of close ups of the humans
and distorted kaleidescope imagery which passes for the Alien’s perspective. About 20 minutes into the movie, we get our first glimpse of the Hunter creature, and it was one of the most entertaining moments in the film, simply for nostalgia value. The design of the Hunter is reminiscent of creatures in campy sci-fi flicks of the 1950s and 60s, and instead of being an intimidating vision, every appearance brought a huge smile to my face. I hope they continue to use the Alien and Hunter creatures as time goes on, as they could have a decent franchise on their hands without the baggage that the Fox films have.
All right, I am not going to lie to you folks. AvH is really not a high-quality film (which you should have guessed long ago) and the dialogue can be atrocious at
times. The movie, however, is watchable if you don’t mind having characters introduced 3/4 of the way through the film you know will be corpses within 10 minutes. The special effects are laughable at best, and there is a total lack of impact in the battle and death scenes. Some shots are confusing as hell and make you wonder what exactly just happened. There were a few scenes I had to skip back and watch to figure out if I had a mini-seizure or one of those micro nap thingies. Apparently I blinked at the wrong moment and skipped a flash of action.
Somehow AvH isn’t a complete train wreck, and never asks you to take gigantic leaps of faith like AvP:R does multiple times. (aliens bursting through the neck? really Fox? what were you thinking?!)
One thing that many of these low-budget films tend to do that is quite refreshing is put actual adults in the main cast. I don’t mean sexy 20 something stars and starlets, but 35 years and up for your protagonists really gives credibility to their fortitude in dire situations. Sorry but I just don’t buy that 21-year old college students could fight off waves
of aliens without flinching as you seen in most movies lately. It seems the era of the mature protagonist is all but lost. There are some younger cast members but they act their age and step up when necessary, but never before.
So, this wasn’t as bad as I expected.
The acting, while sub-par (and what did you really expect from a mockbuster?) isn’t as irritating or grating as it could be. Notable exceptions were the women in the cast.
Dedee Pfeiffer as Hilary, the former biker chick turned florist (WTF?), made me roll my eyes every time she opened her mouth.
She was so strident in her faux-lesbianism that it was quite surprising when Hilary grabs hold of Lee and plants a wet one on him, in a “she digs men?” sort of way.
Whittly Jourdan as Tammy was just plain irritating. Girlfriend, I seriously don’t care that your mother is missing. Just. Stop. Talking.
Jennifer Couch as Freckles was the best of the bunch, but then she hardly opened her mouth. Of course, when she did, I wanted to duck tape it shut, just so that I would have to look at her teeth. All. The. Time. Unfortunately for Jennifer, I will never look at her without thinking about her really lame-ass death scene (bad, bad editing there) and the eternity that it took the Hunter to decide to shoot her, never mind that he had her in his sights for ages. I’m not even really sure why the Hunter decides to take her out, except for the freaking horse teeth.
The CG was exactly what you would expect from a movie of this budget – it looked more like clay-mation than CG, and it was really only used when the lower half of the Alien had to shown on camera.
The ending had me scratching my head, because I couldn’t decide if the Hunter was after Freckles or the Alien – yeah, you just need to watch that scene to get what I’m talking about.
Watch it or Trash it?
Jypsy: Watch It as long as you can tolerate horrendous dialogue and some pretty terrible acting from the secondary cast.
Jeanne: Watch It so long as you don’t mind some truly WTF moments.