BY: ORACLE OF FILM
The first Alien vs. Predator movie was OK. It was, by no means, amazing, but it wasn’t a disaster, like we all expected it to be. Therefore, when picking up a copy of the sequel to that movie, Requiem, we had our expectations at a relatively high level. We expected a stupid story, with some cool Alien and Predator fight scenes, especially with the cliffhanger from the first: the birth of the Pred-alien (a mix between both monsters).
What we got was the most painful two hours either franchise has ever been subjected to. For some reason, first-time directors, Colin and Greg Strause, made the decision to pitch this sequel as a teen horror. Therefore, we are introduced to terrible one-dimensional teen stereotypes, from the nervous ‘American Pie’ stock character to the popular, but caring blonde girl. Of course, most of the characters have the sole purpose of being killed off in a gruesome way by one of the movie’s monsters, so they aren’t developed in the slightest. The directors just cross their fingers that we care about them enough to carry on watching and blunder on blindly with their clunky script.
Teen horrors have their place, don’t get me wrong. I get a kick out of watching ‘Final Destination’ and ‘Scream’ as much as the next guy, but here, we are given a copy-and-pasted teen horror script with two of the most loved Sci-Fi creations awkwardly trapped in the middle. No matter how painful the teens are butchered, we feel that the Aliens and Predators are the real victims of this disaster of a movie. Every hollow line or wasted chance for some emotional back-story feels like a personal insult at the fans. As a result, there is no room for forgiveness here.
Another thing that really annoyed me about this film was some of the fight scenes. The Aliens build their numbers in the sewers for the first half of the movie, living off the homeless people Hollywood likes to assume reside there. The sewer scenes are terribly shot, to the point where we cannot see what is going on. I get keeping the shot shadowy makes the movie creepier, but when there doesn’t seem to be any lighting whatsoever, it comes across as infuriating. When the Predator catches up, we cannot see any of the battle between the two monsters. It is an unforgivable mistake on the Strause brothers’ part.
The brothers initially got the job, because they are hardcore fans of the franchise. I can see that, but they are the wrong kind of fans. Just like Tarantino lovers revel in the explosive gore without understanding the symbolic brilliance of the actual films, the brothers focus more on the gruesome kills than making a use of the tension and atmosphere that made the earlier films so successful. There is a clear lack of understanding of the core elements of the franchise. The plot is strung together by kills, going wherever would make the coolest death. There is one sickening scene in a maternity ward that is too tough to watch.
If you try really hard to find a light at the end of the tunnel, I guess you could say that it delivers as a dumb teen action movie. If you have never seen an Alien or Predator movie before, you might quite enjoy this, as you are comfortably ignorant to the butchering of a beloved franchise (although if you have never seen an Alien or Predator movie before, you are probably a terrible judge in movies!). There is a scene early on, where a father and son are stalked by face-huggers in some long grass, which struck me as inventive and creepy. However, the cons far outweigh the pros, and you are much better off avoiding this movie. It’s not even in the category of ‘so bad, it’s good’. It’s just an embarrassment and your opinion of the source franchises deserve to be untarnished by treating this movie to a viewing. Just stay away!