Monday, February 9, 2009

Yes, I Keep Watching These

AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

I tend to enjoy badly made horror movies more than most good ones, but the Alien vs. Predator franchise is showing signs of not even being reliably bad. The first one at the very least was periodically scary, which is more than you could say for the last two proper Alien movies. It had a nice exotic, claustrophobic locale and some new twists on the mythology (mostly the Alien mythology, since the old Predator films didn't have any larger storytelling ambitions than these new things do). It had a cast of people who had been other in movies, as opposed to a bunch of Canadians. It was competently if not inspiringly directed (by "The Other" Paul Anderson).

AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem has two colons and an acronym in its name. That's pretty much all you need to know right there. Want more? All right. There's a half alien/half predator hybrid, see (you can tell because it has dreadlocks and a tail), and it gets loose in Gunnison, Colorado, has a lot of kids, a whole bunch of people die graphically, and then the government nukes the hell out of the whole scene.

That's all there is to it. The biggest problem facing these movies is that neither the aliens nor the predators can speak or anything close to it (having multi-hinged killing machines for mouths rather than proper teeth and jaws) and even if they did it's not as if their motivations are that complicated. So humans have to be provided. Humans are all right in movies if you absolutely can't get around using them, but there are a few pointers the makers of the first Alien vs. Predator neglected to pass on to those in charge of the second. First of all, if you have to have humans, get the guy who played Spud from Trainspotting. First movie: Spud. Second movie: No Spud. Second of all, pick a small group and stick with it. If you stay with the same characters long enough, you're likely to build up at least a little bit of sympathy for them. Besides, if you don't see too much more of what's going on than they do, you'll be more likely to jump when the monsters burst in.

Finally, don't make every single line of dialogue they have and every scene where they're not being disemboweled utterly horrible. That really tends to suck the life out of a film. 

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