PRIME TIME: there’s something alien in the air

It started with an accidental alien addition to my watchlist that just seemed like a good sci-fi movie to watch with the hubby but ended up having a whole lot of horror in it. It only grew from there as I took Amazon recommendations for other films like that first flick. So which were the best in this bunch?

BREACH (2020)

If you miss the days of cable and video store Alien rip-off movies of the late 80s and early 90s, Breach will make you feel all kinds of nostalgic.

A space ship is carrying a team of people to a new planet to colonize it. As is always the case with these movies, we meet them all as they’re eating in the slop hall and exchanging jabs.

There’s a cute stowaway who reminded me of a young Treat Williams. Thomas Jane is the admiral of the ship. Bruce Willis is fucking awful as one of the team members—why he doesn’t just retire since he can’t seem to be bothered to act anymore is beyond me. And finally, horror hottie Johnny Messner is another team member.

Pretty quickly things get gory, someone turns into an “infected”, there’s an autopsy scene, team members begin to fear each other…. Nothing new here, but it’s got some gore, and the infected are fast runners and jumpers.

In essence, it’s mostly a cheesy, fast zombies in space movie with a boss battle at the end (think the video game Dead Space). It’s a good popcorn movie (I literally decided to make popcorn while watching it), especially since some scenes were unintentionally laughable, like a sudden, all-out brawl between humans and infected.

The final scene, while not top notch Hollywood budget stuff, adds an unexpected surprise to the otherwise formulaic plot.

ENCOUNTER (2018)

Early on, this film reminds me of Altered, an indie alien fave of mine. Hemsworth brother Luke plays a dude in a wheelchair who is out in the woods with his buddies when they see something crash to earth. They investigate and find a little pod smoking in a hole. So…they bring it home to his garage.

The film starts off pretty exciting. A tentacle comes out of the pod when Hemsworth is alone, and soon his whole outlook on life is changing, so he feels the need to get everyone in his life to befriend the pod.

Meanwhile, his buddies go to ask an old college professor for help…horror icon Tom Atkins. And…the government is coming to look for the pod.

I wish the movie remained as good as it sounds. It falls into a cycle of Hemsworth convincing people to befriend the pod to see what he experienced and them all becoming fans. The pod and tentacle effects are cool, there some other effects that are not, and the conclusion is a little bizarre and open for interpretation if you’re into that sort of thing.

BEYOND THE SKY (2018)

I could see an alien movie blog post formulating as I found this one as a recommend on the page for Encounter, and when I saw Dee Wallace listed in the cast, I knew I had to add it to my watchlist immediately.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that Dee is only in it for about three minutes so we could all say, “Hey, it’s E.T.’s mom in an alien movie!”

Beyond the Sky kind of feels like someone watched all the classic alien abduction films (Communion, The Fourth Kind, Fire in the Sky, etc.) and hit all the same plot points, with the difference being the focus in this film is on a guy making a movie with his friend to prove alien abduction is fake.

They go to the Roswell area. They interview supposed abductees. They go to a support group for abductees. They go to a convention for believers, which is where they meet Dee. They team up with a girl to do their investigating.

And finally, they go into the desert at night and things start to get weird for them. Still, most of this film’s time is spent on inexplicable lost time (self-fulfilling anyone?).

Good news is there is an abduction, a trip to a spaceship, and an encounter with aliens before all is said and done. But oddly, it almost feels out of place considering the rest of the movie is so grounded in…well, what’s happening on the ground.

INTERPRETERS (2019)

How is this for dedication? I saw that the running time for this film was two hours and I still watched it. Of course that might be because it meant an unnecessary extra half hour of movie but a totally necessary 30 more minutes of horror hunk Ace Marrero.

Ace is a special agent that discovers a massacre of some military men while in the desert…and is then told by his leaders that he made the whole thing up. So he moves to a small town to get away from life…but murder follows him.

Interpreters plays out sort of like a slasher mystery, with a guy in black and what we at first assume is a creepy mask slowly killing off people in the community. The sheriff suspects Ace since he’s the new guy in town, so Ace has to do some investigating to find out the truth, all while experiencing weird visions or flashbacks.

There are signs that there’s something more sinister, more government conspiracy, and perhaps more alien than what’s happening on the surface. The problem is Interpreters has an interesting concept that simply isn’t presented concisely enough—everything drags on and just muddies the waters while filling in the time between the limited number of kills. Truly, the film would have benefited from some editing.

Not to mention, although the final act is a fun, chaotic gun battle out in the dark at night, basically the film does nothing to expose us enough to the whole rather cool point, which is simply explained by an “alien” within five minutes near the end. I say alien in quotes because we can only assume this is an alien situation because it’s never quite clearly defined as such. Honestly, I found this film very hard to follow.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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