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Overall Rating
2.68

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 31.58%
Just Average36.84%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 31.58%

3 reviews, 1 rating


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Alien Trespass
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by Peter Sobczynski

"The Film Without The Atom Brain"
1 stars

“Alien Trespass” is a spoof movie that asks us to laugh at the old sci-fi movies of the Fifties and all of their attendant clichés--silly screenplays, highly questionable performances, ultra-cheap special effects and monsters that spent more time trying to keep the zippers on their costumes from showing up than they did trying to conquer Earth. As this is not exactly the freshest satirical idea around, a film of this type needs to do one of two things in order to succeed--it either has to find a unique twist to the material that will allow it to stand apart from similar works or it needs to be so incredibly funny that its fundamental lack of originality can be overlooked. Unfortunately, “Alien Trespass” does neither of those things and the result is a comedic debacle that fans of the sci-fi genre will find tiresome and smug and everyone else will find to be less amusing than the recent remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

It begins, absurdly (though not amusingly) enough, with a long and pointless framing device informing us that the film we are about to see is actually an authentic Fifties-era sci-fi movie that was thought to be lost ever since its release was scuttles and all prints and negatives were destroyed by the head of the studio after a contract dispute with its star. As for the movie proper, it kicks off as so many films of its type have over the years--a mysterious thing from outer space crashes on the outskirts of a small and relatively isolated town during a meteor shower. Naturally, this attracts the attention of a number of familiar figures--dopey and disbelieving cops, drunken oafs and horny teens--but the archetype that makes it to the crash site first is pipe-smoking, tweed-wearing scientist Ted Lewis (Eric McCormack) and when he get there, he discovers that it was actually a genuine flying saucer that has crash-landed in the mountains. Before he can do anything about it, Ted is possessed by the craft’s pilot, a creature who is known as Urp and who, based on his actions here, is more comfortable piloting his spacecraft (despite the whole crashing thing) than he is piloting a human body. It soon transpires that the crash caused Urp’s cargo, a fearsome and deadly beast known as the Ghota (a thing with one eye, many tentacles and the ability to render its victims into unsightly goo), and he needs to stop it before it can destroy the planet. As he pursues his prey, the emotionless Urp also finds himself undergoing strange and unfamiliar sensations thanks to the presence of Tammy (Jenni Baird), a local waitress who begins to take a shine to him even though he looks like the local egghead scientist and acts like. . .well, like someone from another planet.

As I said before, there have been countless spoofs of vintage sci-fi schlock over the years and the best ones have generally taken one of two approaches in regards to the satire--either they goof on them by replicating every shabby aspect of those earlier films right down to the tiniest technical details (as they did with “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” or the titular segments of “Amazon Women on the Moon”) or they take a wildly over-the-top stance designed to show the silliness of the conventions of the genre (as Tim Burton did in his brilliant and tragically underrated “Mars Attacks!”). The trouble with “Alien Trespass” is that there is no discernible comedic approach on display as far as I could tell. Instead, screenwriter Steven P. Fisher and director R.W. Goodwin spend most of their time demonstrating a vaguely condescending attitude towards the material--their mocking of the old sci-fi conventions seems to be borne less out of any genuine affection for those films and their clichés (a quality that something like “Lost Skeleton of Cadavra,” despite its numerous flaws, definitely possessed) and more from a desire to let the audience know that they are far more intelligent and clever than the dopes who made those movies and the dopes who watched them. Trouble is, based on the evidence seen here, “Alien Trespass” isn’t appreciably more intelligent or clever than those earlier films, though it is far more boring than they used to be--even the most devoted fans of the genre (the very people who are most likely to go for a film of this type) are going to lose all patience with it long before it finally stumbles over the finish line.

There are a couple of nice things on display in “Alien Trespass” here and there--Eric McCormack certainly looks the part of the nerdy/heroic scientist (even if he hasn’t been giving anything funny to do), some of the intentionally cheesy-looking rear projection effects do effectively conjure up memories of long-forgotten B-movie nonsense and there is one sequence involving a couple of kids trapped in a house with the Ghota that is actually fairly effective in its staging. The problem is that once past these few brief bursts of inspiration, we are left with an incredibly tired and tedious film that spends an hour and a half patting itself on the back for making fun of things that people haven’t taken seriously for decades. Trust me, you would be much better served by ignoring “Alien Trespass” entirely and spending your time and money watching some authentic Fifties sci-fi nonsense instead--they may not have been as self-consciously clever as this one but at least they remembered to be entertaining.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18250&reviewer=389
originally posted: 04/03/09 00:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2009 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Fantasia Festival For more in the 2009 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/09/09 james obrien its o:k 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Apr-2009
  DVD: 11-Aug-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
  03-Apr-2009
  DVD: 11-Aug-2009


Directed by
  R.W. Goodwin

Written by
  Steven P. Fisher

Cast
  Eric McCormack
  Jenni Baird
  Robert Patrick
  Jody Thompson
  Dan Lauria
  Aaron Brooks



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