Alien Trespass

2008, Movie, PG, 90 mins

Review

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The makers of Alien Trespass would like you to believe that their film is a "lost masterpiece" from the '50s, but if this sci-fi slog had played to movie houses back then, it might have just been seen as another by-the-numbers rip-off of more popular pictures of that time. Bringing very little to the table in terms of throwback effects (most are very obviously quite modern) or the kind of unintentional humor of drive-in monster movie fare that one would expect, this straight-faced send-up falls dead in its tracks, much the same way its one-eyed monster turns its victims to gelatinous goo. As an experiment, it's admirable, yet one has to wonder who else besides stalwart supporters of that time and place in sci-fi filmmaking will be interested in what Alien Trespass has to offer. In a way, one wishes there were some kind of MST3K accompanying track to keep things at least a bit interesting.

The story is a by-the-numbers tale of a small town being terrorized by a one-eyed monster from a crashed spaceship. Luckily for the inhabitants, another alien overtakes the body of their resident scientist, Ted Lewis (played by Will & Grace's Eric McCormack), and teams up with the heroine of the tale, Tammy (Jenni Baird), in order to stop it. Mayhem ensues, with the cops (headed by Dan Lauria and Robert Patrick) and teens of the town trying desperately to unravel the secret of why all of their townspeople are being turned into what looks like puke.

This isn't the first time someone has hearkened back to the days of monster suits and a suburbia-in-the-desert setting -- 2001's The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra lampooned the era to mixed results, yet at least they were trying to goof on the junkshop matinee aesthetics rather than to replicate them using modern techniques. When it comes down to it, the viewer's reaction will depend on his or her interest in the black-and-white fare that Alien Trespass is so desperately idolizing. The question still remains: What's the point? To see if a film that's shot straight-faced in this style still has the charm that its forefathers do? If that's the case, then the question has been answered -- and it's a big no. Some would say that there's a reason why movies evolved with their audience and that as time goes on, it might get harder and harder to tap into the same sort of magic of time gone by without adding any new perspective to it. Yes, the film slightly deviates thanks to its female hero, but the gender switch isn't enough to keep this one afloat. Commendable, but a strikeout nonetheless, Alien Trespass needs to be buried for another 50 years and then unearthed to be studied for how tributes can go oh so wrong. leave a comment --Jeremy Wheeler

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