Image Entertainment // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Kelly (Retired) // July 3rd, 2009
It came from another Galaxy.
I'm no expert in 1950's science fiction hokum, but I've seen enough to understand the intent and purpose of Alien Trespass. Designed as a campy throwback to the B movies of old, Alien Trespass is a lovingly constructed piece of light parody. However, unlike recent spoofing disasters such as Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans, this film has a deep-rooted love of its subject at the heart of its mockery, celebrating rather than bemoaning the sci-fi Saturday morning matinees of the era.
Set in small town USA and populated with every personality cliché in the book, it's safe to say that the story involving a rogue monster isn't the real point of Alien Trespass. The film is all about the cheesy effects, questionable acting, eerie music, and of course oodles of slime and goo. The central conceit sees an alien ship crash on Earth, unleashing a nasty creature named Ghota, and a noble E.T. trying to capture and tame the vicious escapee. The alien hero decides to use the body of local Ted Lewis (Eric McCormick, Will and Grace) in order to maneuver around unnoticed, but it's hard to stay undetected as the murderous Ghota cuts a villainous rampage through the local town.
It's unlikely that viewers will remember Alien Trespass the morning after they watch it, but during its lean and efficient runtime I can see a lot of folks getting a kick out of this one. The movie was only afforded a meager run on festival circuits earlier this year, a pity as it could certainly cook up a following with its affectionate recount of rubbishy invasion flicks. I suppose part of the reason I'm a little underexposed to the sort of trashy efforts Alien Trespass pays homage to is because I'm a generation (or three) too young; however, I realize many a person had a childhood fuelled by these bargain budget escapades and for them Alien Trespass might attract a pang of fuzzy and warm nostalgia.
The actors deserve credit for playing solidly to the performing standards of the 1950s and for approaching the project with the required tongue in cheek attitude. Eric McCormick is highly amusing as both the hunky nerd and inanimate extra terrestrial hero whilst the like of Dan Lauria (The Spirit) and Jody Thompson (Shanghai Noon) hand in delightfully zealous and over the top performances. Thompson in particular deserves serious kudos for her smart and perfectly weighted turn as McCormick's bemused wife, completely bewildered by her husband's transformation. At times I felt that Jenni Baird (4400) approached her role as a small town girl with big dreams a little too sincerely, but it's an easily forgiven nit to pick amidst all the fun.
The effects are deliberately cheap and plastic looking whilst the plot is filled with so many intentional inconsistencies and scientific errors that one can't help but chuckle. I realize this isn't a perfect film and the galactic menace never even approaches scary, but I couldn't help finding Alien Trespass a minor and fairly credible prescription of fun. Some viewers will entirely miss the point and assume that Alien Trespass with it's cheap and cheerful setting is taking itself seriously, thus balking and lambasting the picture as a silly bore. Make sure you correct said persons by informing them this is designed as a lightly mocking tribute to the ultra awful science fiction of old and not an attempt to revive the style. It doesn't make the film perfect but in that knowledge your viewing experience should amass to minor joy.
The DVD provided was a screener featuring no extras and providing audio and video of a decidedly patchy nature. Seeing as this may not necessarily represent final product I'll leave such technical elements unrated.
Not Guilty. However, the court warns not to get cozy with girls when an alien menace is on the loose.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG