Saturday, January 13, 2007

Altered (2006)

I had anticipated seeing Altered ever since I heard that Eduardo Sanchez, one of the directors of The Blair Witch Project, was directing. I was one of the people who actually enjoyed The Blair Witch Project and I was excited to see what Sanchez would do next. He doesn't disappoint with Altered, a sci-fi/horror flick that kept me on the edge of my seat for its entire duration.

Three friends catch an alien in the woods with its mothership in hot pursuit, and take it to their friend Wyatt's house. Many years ago, when the men were just boys, the aliens abducted them, experimented on them and ended up killing their friend Timmy. Duke, Cody and Otis are out for revenge, but Wyatt warns that the end of the human race will ensue if they kill their hostage. Once the alien gets loose, the real terror and bloodshed begins...

This film begins with a bang, with Duke, Cody and Otis out in the woods hunting the alien and doesn't let up from there. I usually don't dig alien movies, but this one was quite enjoyable with its fast pace, well-developed characters and plentiful terrifying situations.

First off, the characters development is excellent and is achieved by showing the drama and tension within the group. Instead of telling us, this film really shows us who these guys are and gives us a reason to care about them. The only character I felt was unnecessary was Wyatt's wife. I felt like they just threw her in there just so they could have a chick in the movie.

The actors all do a fine job of portraying their respective characters. They were all well-portrayed and never for a second did I have to suspend belief. They talked, acted and had flaws like normal people. Again, the drama within the group as to what to do with the alien really helped achieve the high level of tension prevalent throughout the movie.

The story itself was very well-written, with loads of tension that kept me on the edge of my seat. There aren't any annoying, tacked on "twists" at the end, but there are some surprising moments, especially as to what the alien is capable of - who knew if an alien bit you that your skin would start to rot away in a matter of hours?!

Speaking of rotting skin and other such delicacies, there is some very cool and gross scenes throughout the movie, many of them involving spilled guts (including alien guts!). We also get a man nailed up to the wall, a throat ripped out, gooey alien blood, a gunshot wound and lottsa man-to-alien hand-to-hand combat. The alien itself is a vicious lil' sucker with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and long, wicked claws. For a change, it looks like they used a man in a suit and models instead of CGI bullshit. While some people might be put off by the "man-in-the-suit" phenomenon, I found it refreshing, much like Bigfoot in Abominable. I thought the alien looked realistic and pretty cool!

If you are looking for a tension-filled alien flick featuring superb acting, great gore and a fast-paced story, I recommend Altered!

Order it on Amazon!

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