Thursday, December 22, 2011

Alien Undead (The Dark Lurking) and When Zombies in Space Goes Wrong: A Movie Review

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*spoilers ahead.

Director/writer: Gregory Connors.

Cast: Tonia Renee, Bret Kennedy and Ozzie Devrish.

The premise in Alien Undead aka The Dark Lurking is quite simple: all the survivors have to do is to get out alive. When this tale is set in the world of science fiction, all this movie has to do is to have the heroes call for help, find the Starship Enterprise (the ship here brings forth recollections of the Red Dwarf) and call for Scotty to beam them up. That would end the movie fast.

Instead, what this film does is to continue for approximately 95 minutes including credits. Nobody is going to leave alive and that is too abruptly established at the start. Nobody at Outpost 30 even knows their fate, but that certainly will not stop them from trying to make it up to the surface. Maybe if the eight survivors can get out of the hut, all they have to contend with is the potentially hostile surface world.

At home, the creatures the scientists have unleashed are some kind of alien hybrid created from Biblical imagination. Sadly, these are not the Nephilim. Had that been the case, this movie would have worth studying to see what writer Gregory Connors could have explored with “the fallen sons of God and daughters of men.” When one of the scientists in the film reveals that they have found God's first fallen son, Lucifer, and they have extracted his DNA to create a race of super powered humans, interest is developed for this tale.

But something has gone wrong in the process of creating a new human angel hybrid. Their creations look like monstrous humanoid mounds of tissue matter; in the dark, exactly what they look like is impossible to tell. When lit, they vaguely look like Nosferatu. But these creatures are not vampires.

Instead, this film turns them into zombies and hardly anyone will realize it. The rest of the narrative becomes very familiar. There is a flavour of Resident Evil with this tale: when a mysterious woman, Lena (Tonia Renee) emerges out of stasis, she becomes instantly involved in most of the chaos that is happening.

And where the mayhem goes is in a style of a 90's videogame. Even the dialogue and acting feels like one of those dated products, and it may be taking some cues from Dead Space, a game for the Xbox 360/PS3 where gamers learn that a corporation is interested in evolving mankind to the next level. But not everyone has the mental capacity to control their primitive instincts. Maybe they are better off playing Doom.

With this movie, mercs are sent down as an advance guard to see who is left. They find a small group of scientists trying to salvage their experiment. At the same time, these aliens are also very intent on meeting their creator. After one predictable story element to another, a revelation is made about Lena's origins, and for some military operatives, she means more to them alive than dead. Even the legions of “undead” seem interested in her.

Once when her origins are understood, the revelation seems quite clich├ęd. The Resident Evil films experiments with corporations gone mad, but to really get at the issues of psychological trauma cannot be whittled down to one shoot ‘em up film. Alien Undead does not get philosophical with why the scientists are trying to breed super-soldiers.

Writer and director Gregory Connors does not even try to make any commentary with his product. It is a popcorn movie. This product has the potential to be a thought-provoking movie but it misses the mark. Some re-engineering is needed if it is to be like Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s Japanese animated masterpiece, Evangelion.

Overall: 4 out of 10.

*this title has released in North America as Dark Lurking. Alien Undead is the United Kingdom title.

The film's homepage is here

Alien Undead's Official Website

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