Generally when you sit down to watch a B-movie that’s of the sci-fi or horror variety you can expect a few things. First, the acting is going to range from acceptable to terrible; the special effects aren’t going to be that remarkable, and if you’re lucky the dialogue won’t make you want to put a gun to your head. While Alien Raiders makes good on all of these qualities is manages to be a fairly entertaining thriller.
In a backwater Arizona town a group of masked people brandishing heavy fire power storm a grocery store and seemingly start killing people indiscriminately. As the plot thickens we learn that a race of aliens have embedded themselves in people and this masked group are really scientists trying stop a full-blown invasion. Soon we don’t know who’s a good guy, who’s a bad guy or who might be an alien.
Pulling bits and pieces from Aliens, The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Raiders is a frustrating film because it manages to fail as often as it works. The film opens strong with a good level of suspense and you really want to know what is going on. As the plot develops you start to realize how much it’s swiping liberally other, better films of the genre and you get frustrated but still somehow manage to stay engaged. Sadly by the end it devolves into a typical giant gross monster to kill with a tacked on extremely predictable last scare.
On the horror aspect of the film you get some good gore. In one particularly scene the scientists start cutting off the pinky fingers of their captives to find out who might be an alien, ala The Thing in some aspects. It is pretty effective and will certainly make you wince.
What really makes the movie work is that most the actors are actually pretty decent. Carlos Bernard stars, best known as Tony Almeda on TV’s 24, and brings a level of credibility to his role. The film and the other actors seem to bring their A game, so to speak, and give some good performance considering some of the laughable dialogue.
Alien Raiders‘ biggest flaw is that it doesn’t do enough with The Thing aspect of the film. Some real suspense could have been built around not knowing who is really an alien. It does pays off a couple of times but could have brought a lot more tension to the film had they played that aspect up more. But what can you expect from B sci-fi film?
The film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and 5.1 surround sound. For a low budget film it looks and sounds pretty good. The filmmakers really knew what they were doing and delivered a high-quality film to the genre. You get a Spanish language track and French and Spanish Subtitles.
Hidden Terror: The Making of Alien Raiders: (8 min.) Pretty standard making of. Interviews with the cast and crew. All-in-all, not bad.
Blood, Sweat and Fears: The Special Effects of Alien Raiders: (3 min.) This one is short and effective gives you the info you need about the special effects and doesnt drag on too long.
Tape #9: Sterling Explains the Aliens: (6 min.) This is footage to explain more about the film. In character, Sterling talks about the aliens and explains how they work and what they do.
Tape #12: Spooky’s Job: (4 min.) More footage expanding on the film. Spooky, called a Spotter since he can spot the aliens, talks about how he got his powers and how he got involved in the alien hunt.
Whitney Cam: Blog posts found after the Buck Lake Incident: (8 min.) Whitney, the girl in the film, apparently had a video blog before the events of the film and here are a few of them. This one is kind of interesting cause it’s all about the subtext.
Raw Feed Movie Trailer Gallery Trailers for Alien Raiders, Believers, OTiS, Rest Stop, Rest Stop 2 and Sublime.
I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. I can’t call it good, and I find it hard to recommend it (definitely a renter, do not buy). If you like B-movie grade sci-fi and horror flicks this would be a decent way to spend an hour and a half. It’s got some good suspense and gore if you’re into that sort of thing just don’t have too much in the way of expectations and you’ll have a fun time.
Warner Bros. presents Alien Raiders. Directed by Ben Rock. Written by David Simkins and Julia Fair. Starring Carlos Bernard. Running time: 85 minutes. Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images and language. Released on DVD: February 17, 2009. Available at Amazon.com.