Predathon Part 4: ‘Aliens VS Predator: Requiem’
This film is different from the previous films covered in this marathon because I have not seen it before. After I found Aliens VS Predator dramatically underwhelming and saw the poor reception this sequel garnered, so I gave it a miss. But now it’s time…
Directors: The Brothers Strause
Cast: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Sam Trammell, Tom Woodruff, Ian Whyte
Plot: The corpse of the last fallen Predator from the events in the Antarctic is being taken away on a Predator spaceship when a deadly new hybrid ‘Predalien’ burst from his chest. The ship crashes in rural Colorado where the Predalien and facehuggers begin running rampant. A new Predator arrives to hunt them down.
Review: Right. First question:
There’s very little motivation or reason for anything happening in this movie. We can’t exactly have the Xenomorphs and Predators sit around delivering exposition, but the previous films have managed to communicate their motivations of trophy hunting and protecting their colony, or at the very least have some dopey humans talk out loud about it. It’s not clear what exactly the Xenomorphs are trying to accomplish beyond ‘hijinks’ and the Predator turning up to hide the evidence of their presence seems to be against their agenda of hunting deadly species.
The movie starts with a new setting, dumping the galactic conflict into small town America. It’s vastly different from a space station of an isolated jungle and could serve to raise the stakes. Unfortunately the story about aliens fighting each other and desperate humans trying to survive rarely cross over and it feels like a wasted opportunity. The whole movie feels more like a slasher movie, like Friday the 13th, than a Aliens or Predator movie with time being dedicated to building up missing persons storylines or focus of teenage dating drama. Ultimately it’s all for naught.
In a drastic over correction from criticism levelled at the previous film for running with a PG rating the level of gore and horror has been dramatically cranked up to the point that it’s both pointless and distasteful. Having a small child and then a pregnant woman being subjected to Xenomorph impregnation doesn’t add anything to the film beyond revulsion. If the directors sought only to make people feel gross for watching it instead of using suspense or creating stakes then mission goddamn accomplished.
Whilst the Predalien is a welcome addition the chances to the mythos is brings are weird and pointless. Building on what has been established is great, ignoring it to create shock value is stupid. The Predalien as the ability to suction onto a pregnant woman’s face and dump a bunch of eggs into their stomach to eat their child and burst out of their stomach. Thanks, I hate it.
What ultimately drove the previous films and made them so memorable (in addition to the awesome creature designs) is the characters. Predator, Alien and Aliens are still known for their fun, diverse and interesting ensemble who deliver memorable dialogue and bounce off each other in interesting ways. It’s been less than 24 hours since I finished watching this and I don’t even remember who survived. They all a damp splat of moist tissue paper without the charm.
There’s plenty more action than the previous film, thank god. And this could’ve been a decent pile of schlock based on that. Pity we can’t see a bloody thing. There’s an art to using low lighting in cinema (look at David Fincher’s work for a good example), and The Brothers Strause aren’t quite up to the challenge.
I’ll give them credit for trying something new. Fresh setting, playing with the mythos a bit…but none of it sticks. Most of the innovation boils down to the Predator having two shoulder canons instead of one. It’s a dud.
Rating: TWO out of TEN
Coolest Moment: We almost got a cool moment with a Xenomorph turning up in a swimming pool, but it’s shot poorly and amounts to little.
Rating the Predators: Yeah, you know where this is going…