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Bob Doto [Film Festival 11.15.08] movie review news scifi horror

Year: 2008
DVD Release date: February 27, 2008
Director: Ben Rock
Writer: Julia Fair / David Simkins
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Bob Doto
Rating: 7 out of 10

Straight up. "Aliens Raiders" as a title does not do it for me, and that alone almost prevented me from seeing it. I’m glad I did see it, however, because Alien Raiders is a good film, but the title honestly made me itchy. Now, I say this not as an off-hand “this is just me” comment, but because this film has had a number of different titles since its creation ("Supermarket" [which I love as a title] and "Inhuman" [which is the title of one of Sonic Youth’s best songs, so…]), Given this “identity crisis,” as Dread Central so aptly put it, I know the name has been of some concern. But I get it. Genre film. Old-school genre film. And since this movie is going straight to DVD I imagine it doesn’t hurt to cast the biggest net. So, I’ll concede.

Alien Raiders has had a bumpy coming of age. Shot in only fifteen days with marketing departments breathing down his neck, director Ben Rock was forced to take a script written for a big-time budget and whittle it down to a do-able and relatively small-time budget (around $2 million I believe) in three weeks. How does one actually do that? According to Rock himself, he and others basically went through the script looking for what they called “gags” (action bits involving anything from a gun being fired to an alien birth) and cut out what they didn’t need. My guess is that this made for a much better, tightly wound, and more suggestive piece rather than another SFX wank-a-thon.

The basic story line is a great one. A group of people lead by the Matthew Fox-esque “Ritter” (Carlos Bernard) storm into a supermarket taking everyone hostage with the exception of a few people who are killed. The scene is tense, tense, tense, and there’s a lot of yelling and “Get down on the f-ing floor!” moments. The crew brings with them a twenty-something with a little subtle science under his belt. His role is to scout out the infected by looking into people’s eyes. He then lets Ritter and the rest know if they are “clear.” If they are, they are released. If they are not? Mayhem ensues, the wrong people get hurt, body parts are amputated, and things just keep being not what they seem.

With a script that went through as many changes as it did, and having to shoot a movie about a small town, but actually staged right outside LAX (they had to put cop cars in the foreground of all outdoor shots to shield the busy highway in the background), I feel Ben Rock did a wonderful job at pacing out the film’s story and was able to create a nice smooth suspenseful thriller. The movie felt genuinely choreographed where every few minutes the curtain was lifted another inch to reveal a new aspect of the total performance. Very little was over done and the ending was exactly what I wanted.

So, what’s next for Mr Rock? He’s working with a script written by Bob deRosa called Oblivion (which needs financing, btw), as well as working on something called world Famous with Mark Patton. Keep an eye on Ben. He seems to have a good idea of what to do with what you’ve got to work with, which seems to be one of the better qualities to have in a business where what you’ve got is always changing.

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Jeff (13 years ago) Reply

I'm going to add this to the grocery list.
Supermarket horror as a genre..


Wes (13 years ago) Reply

Good movie.


Salter (13 years ago) Reply

Can we add 'The Mist' to the Supermarket Horror genre. . .

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