Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: December 25th, 2007 MPAA Rating: R

Director: The Brothers Strause Actors: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Kristen Hager, Sam Trammell, Robert Joy, Chelah Horsdal, Gina Holden

 


 

R

everting back to the heavy violence and free-flowing obscenities for which the franchise is known, “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” manages to capture the appearance (and infrequently the mood), but never the essence of what made the original films so engaging. The gore is there but the scares are not – and great heroes and heroines are nowhere in sight. The creatures themselves have taken the spotlight yet again (like so many movie monsters, out-starring their human fighters) – but, as marvelously morbid a sight as they are, it’s difficult to choose a side when there’s nothing at stake save for the lives of a few tiresome nobodies.

A Predator spacecraft, unwittingly carrying a dangerous Alien hybrid, crash-lands on Earth in a small Colorado town. Chaos breaks loose as the deadly creatures are unleashed upon the unsuspecting citizens, with the few survivors tumultuously banding together to stay alive. But the Aliens aren’t the only monsters they must contend with, as another Predator arrives to hunt the “Predalien” – along with the just-as-inhuman military forces seeking containment.

A character runs onscreen – a blubbering mess – as a bewildered bystander queries, “What was it? What was chasing you?” The response is probably one of the hardest lines for an actor to recite with an authentic voice. Too often films lose their credibility when just such a character is forced to quiver in fear and spit out silly responses indicating that they have no idea what was chasing them – because, certainly, no one will believe. And usually that’s where the audience also starts to disbelieve. One of the key factors that hinders “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem’s” implausible plot is that the characters themselves don’t grasp the seriousness of their plight – and so their reactions are ill-contrived and dubious. The fact that most of the victims are teenagers also doesn’t help to generate severity – or maturity – around the xenomorphs.

“Alien” (1979), “Aliens” (1986), and “Predator” (1987) made estimable use of an adult cast that handled situations for which none of them could possibly prepare, in a manner that suited their older and weathered personas. Here, the Aliens and Predators have been reduced to a Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers type of killer, losing just about all of their eeriness and menace. When characters start tripping and falling, or when the monsters conveniently slow to allow an easy escape, it’s evident that the series has turned into a generic teen slasher.

The atmospheric and claustrophobic designs of the first three Alien films are partially recreated in this second crossover project, but the larger sets and earthly locations here should have been substituted for the shadowy corridors of a spaceship or terraforming planet compound. Since isolation was a key point to the plot of “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem,” it seems like a poor plan, cinematically, to deposit the aliens on Earth, where highly illogical creations freely mix with natural earthbound realism. After all, it’s only in space that no one can hear you scream – space aliens just aren’t as threatening amid such commonplace surroundings.

As each installment of the two Twentieth Century Fox franchises premieres, it’s obvious that the filmmakers believe the real stars are the monsters themselves (an arguable point, but one that only requires examining the original films to disprove). With this attitude, the Aliens and Predators receive more and more screen time while the humans are relegated to merely await their horrendous outcomes; the prioritization on antagonists turns the human characters into uninspired fodder. But what good is all that carnage if the fate of these victims is meaningless? Terror and suspense utterly lose their effectiveness when viewers aren’t given a chance to care about the heroes. The tagline of the previous feature fits this entry more appropriately: “Whoever wins, we lose.” But the audience should never have to lose.

– The Massie Twins

  • 4/10


The Alien and Predator Franchises


Alien (1979)

Aliens (1986)

Predator (1987)

Predator 2 (1990)

Alien 3 (1992)

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Predators (2010)

Prometheus (2012)

Alien: Covenant (2017)

The Predator (2018)

Prey (2022)