Friday, June 12, 2015
Altered -Movie Review
Originally published November 25, 2013.
Reading the Netflix synopsis of this movie, I was expecting an extraterrestrial sci-fi thriller rooted in revenge and justice. I was not expecting a backwoods, beer-fueled, mulleted, old-fashioned ass kickin!
Our film begins with three, dare I say, "rednecks" barreling through the woods in a van chasing after an alien. Otis, Duke, and Cody, armed with harpoons, guns, chains, and traps pursue the alien until finally it falls in a deep hole and they are able to capture it. This opening scene also contained my favorite dialogue exchange of the whole movie: "Hey moron, you almost harpooned me." "Suck it up, piss-pants."
I digress. They load up the alien and bring it back to the home of Wyatt, a paranoid young man with a picture of a presumed dead relative and a claw-like "tracker" in a jar out in his garage. Otis, Duke, and Cody bring the knocked-out alien into the garage and lay it on the table. Wyatt checks to make sure the alien is still alive because apparently if you kill one, the rest will come and annihilate you. Cody is a bit of an antagonist, giving Wyatt a hard time and revealing that the aliens had attacked before, killing Cody's brother, Timmy. Upon their escape, Wyatt told all their family members and friends that the men were lying about the alien attack and that Cody had killed his own brother. Cody's dad believed this story and the shame of the lie has been haunting Cody for 15 years.
Suddenly the alien wakes up, lets out a high frequency screech, leaving Wyatt grabbing his head in anguish. Wyatt snaps and starts cutting the alien's midsection open. The alien's arms get free and it starts to thrash as Cody jumps in and restrains it, getting bit in the process. Wyatt is able to extract the tracker from the alien's intestines and steps on it, ensuring the other aliens will not be able to find them. It is then revealed that Wyatt has a giant torso scar from when he was abducted many years ago and implanted with a tracker himself.
The alien is passed out again, so they glue it back together and duct tape it to the table - so rednecky - I love it! Wyatt's wife/girlfriend, Hope, comes into the garage and starts freaking out, as anyone would upon seeing this laying on their table. Otis had put a welder's helmet over the alien's face so they could all avoid eye contact, but in the tussle, the glass part of the helmet had cracked, and Hope and the alien engage in a stare-off. Entranced, she grabs an exacto knife, turns it on the men, and then puts it to her own throat. Cody tackles her, Wyatt screams, "LET GO" and the trance is broken. They tie Hope to the bed to keep her out of the way while Cody realizes that his entire body is becoming infected from the alien bite. His skin is turning grey and veiny and splotchy and overall gross.
The creature wakes up again and we go through the process again of knocking it out, this time with a shovel, I believe, and we see Cody's condition worsening. This is what they believe killed Timmy, the contagious bites, eating from the inside out, their flesh peeling off in layers. Yum! They lock his ass in the bathroom because he's starting to trip out. Out of nowhere, the creature is GONE FROM THE TABLE! Those long fingernails it had came in handy for cutting the duct tape. The lights magically go out as well and here comes the town sheriff to investigate after a disturbance call. The sheriff pops a Yuengling as the alien is revealed hiding in a closet and then scrambling behind Hope's bed. We get our first clear view of the alien at this moment, black, slimy, pointed teeth, wet black eyes, and what my husband thought was a vagina on its forehead. Anyway.
The alien and Otis tussle, but the alien gets the better of him, stringing his intestines across the room and starting to chow down. The other men barge in trying to help, somehow the sheriff gets shot, and Wyatt is able to saw off the alien's hand and fling it across the room. The sheriff dies, thereby being the most useless character of the whole movie. Thanks, officer. Hope frees herself from the bed and threatens to kill the alien. Instead they load it into the van to take it to "town." Duke stays behind with Cody and Wyatt explains to Hope about how he was altered many years ago by the aliens and now they want him back.
Wyatt screeches to a halt in the road, sensing the aliens are surrounding them. Hope walks off and Wyatt discovers, surprise, the sheriff's body is in the cage, not the alien! Duke had done the old switcheroo and is back in the garage torturing the alien. Duke's about to set it on fire when Cody's rotting ass crawls out of the bathroom, distracting him. Upon Wyatt's arrival back home, we see Duke nailed up in the utility closet and implanted. Wyatt finds the alien in the bathtub, fights it, gets bit and then tackled as the alien flies across the room. BUT! Duke is still alive, though not for long, as he yells for the alien to "Get off him, you f*cker" but then has his throat ripped out. Sigh, anyway.
Eventually Cody harpoons the alien across the room into the wall and they have an epic staredown. The alien mind controls Cody making him beat Wyatt's ass even though all his bones are breaking and his flesh is rotting off and finally Hope busts back in and shoots the alien in the head. Wyatt puts Cody out of his misery, shooting him in the head, but then ALL the aliens start to break in. It's pandemonium!! Wyatt and Hope run to the basement in a little bunker Wyatt has created and they blow the whole freakin' house up. We see an exterior shot of the UFO lingering over the house and then escaping up into the atmosphere. Oh yeah, the UFO looks like a giant damn frog. Disappointed. Wyatt and Hope are alive and although they blew up their entire house, somehow the body of the original alien is still within a couple feet. Our final scene ends with them leaving the charred alien body on the doorstep of a man named "Towne" (this was never really explained) and they drive off in their van.
Alright, so this movie was utterly ridiculous, perhaps only remotely scary due to Cody's flesh rotting off, but overall hilariously entertaining, whether intentional or not. My husband even sat down halfway through to watch it and didn't leave til the end, even though he has Assassins Creed 4 to play downstairs, so that's got to tell you something. Anyway, on sheer terror factor alone, I have to give it a thumbs down, but being from Virginia and having spent my fair share of time around guys just like those in this movie, it almost reminds you of home in an odd...way...
Anyway, if you have an hour and a half to kill and a beer or two to drink, I'd definitely suggest watching this movie with a group of friends. It's got just enough suspense to keep you interested and enough humor that you'll be quoting for the next few days. Thumbs up from me!