Saturday, October 17
A group of friends capture an otherworldly creature in the forest and travel to acquaintance's fortified compound for help with what to do next. After chaining the bagged up beast to a table, the men soon erupt into shouting matches and wringing hands over just how they should handle the situation, but past tensions and outside forces such as a withered county cop and pissed off girlfriend harm their plans to just let the malevolent green one go at dawn.
This backwoods sci-fi horror mix between The Thing, Splinter, and a pinch of Scanners gets ever-so-close there for awhile before sputtering out in the last half and actually writing the above made me realize what I didn't like about the film. From my initial impressions of Altered (before seeing it), I thought the guys had no history with the alien they happened to capture, but in actuality they have a tormented past involving abduction by this alien race.
The perceived premise of an unwitting group with a dangerous lifeform in their possession is what drew me to watch it to begin with. I didn't get that and instead characters tell their Fire in the Sky-esqe history purely through scattershot verbal exchanges. This isn't particularly a bad thing as it gives the viewer more to piece together, but they have no good reason for capturing a member of this invader race to begin with despite having a knowledge of their capabilities and specialized weapons. If it were me; I would have moved as far away as possible after getting intergalactically ass-raped.
Immediately upon arriving at the compound of the paranoid protagonist; the hunters learn that the act of killing the alien will endanger all of mankind. With such a history between them and their prey, you'd think they'd be smart enough not to fuck around at all with getting anywhere near toe taggin' one. Of course, human disputes are what does the group in as they struggle to contain the alien and their malice towards each other.
Still, Eduardo Sánchez (one of the directors of Blair Witch) proves capable of delivering a well-shot "conventional" horror film with taut suspense. The alien is shown a bit too much, looking like a short pissed off mutated ninja turtle, but has neato abilities like mind control and the skill of implanting organic tracking devices into the guts of us hairy flesh bags. Not to mention some sexy necrotizing fasciitis action. It's worth checking out cheaply (especially considering this was originally conceived as a horror comedy named "Probed"!?!), but the whole thing seems handicapped by the awareness of what to do with the creature beforehand when there's so much potential in having the guys have no clue just what the hell lies within that burlap sack or how to deal with it.