Imagine the production of a Splatter Olympics. Films like “Evil Aliens” could compete for gold medals – or, more appropriately, crimson blood vials. UK director Jake West would rack up points for “Gratuitous Projectile Bodily Fluids.” His gushing soda fountain of a film pours gooey alien afterbirth, mirror-marring zit pus, erupting semen, and good ol’ bloody red stuff. “Evil Aliens” provides tough competition in the “Comic Mutilation” category, as well. Arteries are whacked by weed-eaters, and orifices endure probing via invasive, intergalactic drills. A wheat-harvesting tractor slices up limbs with the efficient gusto of a flamboyant chef at the Benihana.
Sound good, gorehounds?
Yeah, I guess so. But I’m skeptical about “Evil Aliens” taking home the gold. In fact, if Peter Jackson and John McTiernan were Splatter Olympics judges, they might well disqualify West for the blatant plagiarism contained within. He’s obviously trying to one-up Jackson’s brilliant “Dead Alive,” blasting off quick-fire, tongue-in-cheek explosions of gory gristle and mangled grue. Meanwhile, cross McTiernan’s trophy-hunting, extraterrestrial predator with a bighorn sheep, and you’ve got a sense of the “Evil Aliens”’ photogenic appearances. Flying orbs are unleashed from the space ship of these unfriendly E.T.s to pester our heroes, like buzzing houseflies. But “Phantasm” already invented this form of fear, back in 1979. There are other familiar concepts floating around in this anything-goes, cult-destined bloodbath, cribbed from “Alien,” “Evil Dead,” and “Humanoids from the Deep.”
“Evil Aliens” rustles together a stable of characters so unlikable and obnoxious, they make the teen hedonists from “Hostel” look like obedient Boy Scouts. Michelle Fox (Emily Booth) is a cynical sexpot reporter who’s not beyond flashing cleavage for ratings. Helming a tabloid-style news show called “Weird Worlde,” Fox investigates alleged alien abductions occurring near a rural, Stonehenge-style rock monument. Her accompanying crew is assembled from the usual clichéd subjects, including a hyper-effeminate gay man, an obsessive sci-fi geek, and other fodder for the impending body count.
It’s tough not to embrace “Evil Aliens” as a playful homage to the films cited above. It’s obvious that West embraces the roots of splatter cinema, and wants to join this legacy. But there’s also a huge “been there, done that” factor looming large amidst all the severed heads and ooze-encased space creatures. For those jonesing for a visceral trip down the memory lane of splatter cinema, you could do worse. But if you’re looking for the new Sam Raimi, Stuart Gordon, or Peter Jackson to up the ante with a truly original vision, “Evil Aliens” is sure to disappoint.