Review: ‘Evil Aliens’

High energy and low humor make for a giddy ride in "Evil Aliens." Splat-stick comedy about nasty E.T.'s facing off against equally crass humans reps a big leap for helmer Jake West, whose sophomore feature (following the 1998 "Razor Blade Smile") will make him an instant hero among horror geeks.

High energy and low humor make for a giddy ride in “Evil Aliens.” Splat-stick comedy about nasty E.T.’s facing off against equally crass humans reps a big leap for helmer Jake West, whose sophomore feature (following the 1998 “Razor Blade Smile”) will make him an instant hero among horror geeks. Cross-over to mainstream auds is iffier, since pic’s humor is less critically-approved “Shaun of the Dead” ilk and more the gore-soaked, MPAA-problematic stripe defined by the original “Evil Dead” and Peter Jackson’s “Dead Alive.” Specialized theatrical play is likely, with long afterlife guaranteed as a rental, home purchase, and midnight-movie item.

Prologue sets the tone as a not particularly attractive couple vigorously copulating in an open field is disturbed by unwelcome visitors. Captive on a spaceship, duo undergoes most invasive procedures, notably an anal probe that all by itself assures “Evil Aliens” a chilly reception from the MPAA.

Meanwhile, low ratings dog Michelle Fox (Emily Booth), Elvira-like hostess of TV tabloid skein “Weird World.” Given one last chance by her producer, she seizes on a newspaper story about a woman, Cat Williams, who claims to have been abducted and impregnated by space critters.

Michelle assembles her usual crew: cameraman Ricky (Sam Butler) and his stoner sound guy Jack (Peter McNeil O’Connor); two actors for a “reenactment,” tart Candy (Jodie Shaw) and flaming queen Bruce (Nick Smithers); plus Gavin (Jamie Honeybourne), a pimply uber-nerd brought along to be the on-camera “expert.”

Most of them expect this latest scoop to be another case of fraud or delusion. Their spirits sink upon realizing destination is a single-family, pub-free farming peninsula off the Welsh coast that becomes inaccessible at high tide.

The Williams clan is as inbred as they come, with three near-feral grown brothers who refuse to speak English living in a farmhouse decorated “Texas Chainsaw”-style. Lone sister Cat (Jennifer Evans) is friendlier and stubbornly clings to her story that her advanced pregnancy resulted from an alien abduction just a few days ago and that her missing boyfriend died a horrible death on the spaceship.

Brisk pace turns into frantic nonstop action fairly early on, with expletive-riddled campy dialogue, shameless sexploitation (a human dweeb-meets-alien dominatrix interlude recalls “Team America’s” notorious marionette-porn), good if obvious CGI effects, and mass quantities of over-the-top gore ensuring viewers will be convulsed by either laughter or disgust.

Many in-joke refs to genre classics and conventions, not to mention the extreme violence/sex content, make it clear that West is pitching pic strictly to the faithful. It would be a pity if cuts were made to pull “Evil Aliens” back from “unrated” territory, since its bad-taste excess is the whole joke.

There are moments when crudity trumps bonhomie — that shrieking gay character is too close to’60s comedy-relief stereotypes, for instance — but feature moves too fast to pall more than one fleeting moment at a time.

Allowing for a certain deliberate cheesiness, modestly budgeted effort is pretty much aces on all tech and design levels. Perfs are suitably enthusiastic; subtlety is not on the agenda here.

Evil Aliens

U.K.

Production

A Falcon Media Ltd. production. Produced by Tim Dennison. Executive producer, Quentin Reynolds. Directed, written, edited by Jake West.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Jim Solan; music, Richard Wells; music supervisor, Alison Wright; production designer, Neil Jenkins; set decorator, John Bentley; costume designer, Cal Westbrook; sound (Dolby Digital), Ben Meechan; special makeup f/x, Life Creations; digital f/x supervisor, Llyr Williams; assistant directors, Bill Myall, Debs Tarrier. Reviewed at Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, San Francisco, June 6, 2005. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Emily Booth, Samuel Butler, Jennifer Evans, Jamie Honeybourne, Peter McNeil O'Connor, Nick Smithers, Jodie Shaw, Chris Adamson, Norman Lovett, Chris Thomas, Mark Richard Williams.
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