Alien Raiders (2009)

Genre(s): Horror / Science Fiction / Thriller
Warner Brothers || R - 85 minutes - $24.98 || February 17, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-02-22


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Ben Rock
Writer(s): David Simpkins and Julia Fair (screenplay)
Cast: Carlos Bernard, Mathew St. Patrick, Courtney Ford


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Featurettes
  • 2 Extended Scenes
  • Whitney Cam
  • Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Although a little too predictable for its own good, Alien Raiders actually is far better than the trash I’ve sampled from one of those Sci-Fi Channel “Original” Movies. While the DVD cover makes it look like knockoff on Stephen King’s The Mist, it’s more along the lines of Alien in a grocery store (with The Thing sprinkled in for good measure).

Alien Raiders opens with five armed gunmen – and gunwoman – barging into a small Arizona town supermarket, but their intent is not to rob the place but instead they are looking for something inside someone! The group leader, Aaron Ritter (Carlos Bernard) and his team have been tracking down aliens who infect human bodies and killing those who have been infected. The ultimate capture would be for the King Alien (or something like that) as without him, the species could not repopulate.

Inside this small town grocery store, the “Alien Raiders” (don’t think they were ever referred to as this), with the help of one of their own who can sense the presence of an alien within the human population (which is how it was tracked to this small grocery store). Among the captives are the stock boy (Jeffrey Licon), a cashier (Samantha Streets), the manager (Joel McCrary) and a couple customers including a cop. Complicating matters, the police are outside and the lead negotiator (Matthew St. Patrick), conveniently a former Chicago hostage negotiator, is the step father of the cashier.

Blood, horror, alien killings ensue in a movie that defines don’t judge a movie but its cover...

I don’t think Alien Raiders is some original, outside the box kind of horror movie but it had several things going for it, first and foremost an intriguing story that never is slow and utilizes every second of its short 85-minute running time.

Screenplay by David Simpkins (“Charmed” and producer on several others shows including “Blade: The Series”) and Julia Fair (Believers), I was surprised by how good the story was. Obviously the horror clichés are still there (i.e. several one-dimensional characters ripe for the killing) but because most of the scenes were, you know, actually scary, this places Alien Raiders above so many other low budget horror flicks (even arguably better than high profile ones).

Given the no-name cast, the acting was pretty good saving for one or two individuals that never quite did it for me. I was particularly impressed Matthew St. Patrick as the negotiator as he brought a certain weight to the role and despite superficial character development, a character that I liked (and wouldn’t mind seeing more of in a sequel).

If I had one complaint about the film, as great of direction and the good story, the eventual twist that you could sense coming was all too obvious half way through once we discover the true motives of the “bad guys” or “rogue good guys” depending on your perspective.

That said, I would recommend seeking out Alien Raiders especially if you enjoy alien stories and might want to take a chance on something other than those lousy Sci-Fi Channel POS flicks. I know I knew nothing about this project before hand but I was pleasantly surprised on just how effective it was.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The disc isn’t terrible well packed with in-depth material, but there are a couple featurettes -- Hidden Treasure: The Making of Alien Raiders (8:30), a basic blow-by-blow account on how the story came to be and casting the parts and Blood, Sweat and Fears: The Special Effects of Alien Raiders (2:56) goes over the gore and blood in the movie and how the director was helpful given his background with makeup.

Also on the disc are two extended tapes briefly featured in the movie: Tape #9: Sterling Explains Alien (6:00) and Tape #12: Spookie’s Job (4:09) plus there is Whitney’s Cam (8:52), blog posts after Buck Lake incident.

Last are trailers for other Raw Feed movies including Alien Raiders.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Alien Raiders is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35 aspect ratio. The picture is decent enough though many scenes were very dark so it was touch to see what was going on sometimes, but I can’t complain too much.

The disc contains a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track along with a Spanish Stereo track.



.::OVERALL::.

Alien Raiders is a movie that I can say you cannot judge by its cover. Warner’s Raw Feed line hasn’t been tremendous (wasn’t a big fan of Rest Stop 2), but their latest entry was surprisingly good and definitely worth checking out when you get the chance.