Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Release Date: July 5th, 2005 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jeff Leroy Actors: Lorenzo Lamas, Priscilla Barnes, Corbin Timbrook, Scott Schwartz, Megan Malloy, Christopher Irwin, David Kalamus, Shilo May, Phoebe Dollar
f “Alien” is the ultimate haunted-house-in-space picture, and “Aliens” is the apex of action and horror united (and the epitome of an anti-space-opera), “Alien 3000” is the absolute worst of each of those ideas combined. If it wasn’t bad enough that the movie is virtually irredeemable in its shabbiness, the advertising for it is something altogether, differently reprehensible. The DVD cover art actually depicts a creature from the wrong movie (it’s from the 1997 film “Breeders”) and, unfortunately, it never makes even a guest appearance in this one. There’s also not a single reference to the year 3000. This just might be the single most disastrous exploitation of the “Alien” legacy ever made. Despite countless derivations produced up to this point (it was released in 2004), and countless others manufactured afterwards, “Alien 3000” is so bad that its dreadfulness just might never be topped.
The title graphics are oddly reminiscent of “Alien: Resurrection,” with glowing green text and glimpses of the model used for the starring abomination – which is so pitifully designed that it isn’t even as articulated as a child’s toy. The film then opens on a peeping tom with binoculars spying on a couple as they make out (he cringingly uses the phrase “little jack rabbits” as slang for the woman’s exposed breasts). The three of them are actually all part of the same group, studying seismic readings in the area. When a 6.0 quake opens up a cavern in the side of a mountain, the threesome venture inside to discover ancient gold artifacts (including conquistador-like swords encrusted with rubies) and ominous shadows moving around in the back of the cave. Of course, the first creature to emerge is a tiny bat, scaring the shapely blonde – before a much larger, nearly invisible humanoid (very much like a Predator) swiftly decapitates her.
But it’s all part of a nightmare, revealing that lone survivor Katie Simmons (Megan Malloy) – from a previous attack that unfolded identically to the opening scene – is plagued by graphic visions during her incarceration at the Thorton Psychiatric Clinic (a set that never gets more intricate than an apartment kitchen). When a park ranger stumbles upon the dead bodies of the hikers in real life, it’s up to the Bureau of Paranormal Research to get to the bottom of it. Katie is then visited by BPR agents (technically called detectives from the Office of Paranormal Investigations), to whom she reveals that the brutal slayings are somehow connected to the cursed treasure in the cave – and that her precognitive abilities are linked to the mysterious monster. Somewhere along the line, the government hires mercenaries, led by Sergeant McCool (Christopher Irwin), to explore the cavern and, if possible, to capture the anathema.
The head of the BPR (Sheila, played by Priscilla Barnes) can’t seem to deliver her dialogue clearly – perhaps because she refuses to remove the eraser-end of a pencil from between her lips. “I understand. I do have a Ph.D. in psychiatry,” retorts lead investigator Carla (Shilo May), outlining what the filmmakers believe to be necessary verbiage for character development. The remainder of the supporting roles are counterparts for the Colonial Marines from “Aliens” – from the tough female fighter; to the cocky, expletive-spewing soldiers; to the calmer, controlled commander. One guy does nothing but sharpen his knife on a whetstone; another totes a paintball bazooka for anticipated downtime; and one of the indistinguishable troopers likes to spit or chew on a cigar.
The production is extremely low-budget, sporting all the trademarks of prohibitively limited resources and hasty filmmaking. The actors are terrible (Lorenzo Lamas, who takes top billing, appears for a couple of minutes and then vanishes, only to reappear for very brief additional sequences – wherein he does little more than pose with his shotgun or a pirate sword; he’s very much a Z-grade action star in the first place, here also serving as an associate producer); footage is reused; the ADR is considerably off; the costumes and armory are all unmatched or misshapen; the soldiers’ rations are just granola bars; and the mercenaries never go any deeper into the cavern than the entrance (presumably because the budget couldn’t accommodate an additional set). One of the characters even calls his companion by the wrong name, while another moment shows the exchange of hand signals – and then the spoken line, “Did you see that?” which, of course, negates the need for hand signals. To further make a mockery of all things sci-fi and horror, “Alien 3000” includes panicky conversations getting broken up by the more level-headed members; weapons being dramatically loaded with ammunition; an unglamorous, comical sex scene; specialist Phoebe (Phoebe Dollar) cheering on the alien as it attacks a deserter; and Kate continually awaking from nightmares, screaming directly at the camera, on no less than six separate occasions.
Additionally stealing from “Aliens,” the characters must wait for a helicopter to return to pick them up (a “dust-off”), only to realize that the creature has climbed aboard, resulting in the vehicle’s destruction; motion-trackers that have blips for movement (though they don’t actually move) are hefted; there’s a suicide by grenade; and a military march plays subtly in the background. The movie even proceeds to defraud “Independence Day,” with an alien who communicates through the vocal cords of its human victim, and “Predator,” through the use of an invisibility cloak, infrared imagery for the monster’s visual perspective, and green blood. And there are also sporadic flashbacks to an entirely different movie, which is never explained. However, this becomes clearer to anyone aware of the fact that “Alien 3000” was previously released as “Unseen Evil 2” (a loose sequel to the equally deplorable “Unseen Evil” from 2001, which was itself also released under the title “The Unbelievable”). In the case of this exceedingly shabby filmic endeavor, it would be far wiser to simply re-watch the aforementioned 1979 and 1986 contemporary classics; sometimes, it’s just not gratifying to seek out obscure copycats of beloved masterpieces.
– Mike Massie