Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Alien Raiders | Dead Air

By Steve Anderson
February 1st, 2010

Alien RaidersAlien Raiders
***
DVD

Sometimes that which you see is only the beginning. And sometimes it takes a team of heavily armed sociopaths holding you hostage in a grocery store to see the world for what it really is.

That's the basic concept of Alien Raiders, our review target this go-round. And it's a downright doozy too, kids.

In Alien Raiders, that team of heavily armed sociopaths is touring the country looking for...something. It's not exactly clear just what it is that they're looking for, but it'll steadily become clearer that what they're hunting is a race of aliens that inhabit human bodies. They seize a grocery store, believing their quarry to be contained inside, and discovering that they're quite right. The things they want ARE in the grocery store, and they're not happy that they've been discovered.

I have to hand it to Alien Raiders for bringing a whole lot of intrigue into their proceedings. They reveal things just a little bit at a time, doing a pretty good job of tension building, something that's entirely too rare these days. The entirety of the story won't be revealed via exposition until almost the very end, and that's not something that's often done either.

Speaking of which, the ending features a pretty big surprise that's downright out of nowhere. Seriously, it's really something else and demands to be seen. It's good stuff.

The special features include English and Spanish language tracks, English, French and Spanish subtitles, a making of featurette, a special effects featurette, a couple of small featurettes giving background on the various story bits like what exactly Spooky's job is, a bit of fun called the Whitney Cam and trailers for Alien Raiders, Believers, Otis, Rest Stop, Rest Stop 2 and Sublime.

All in all, I'm pretty well pleased with Alien Raiders. It's a great blend of science fiction and action with a few good thrills thrown in to keep things moving along. It's hard not to be pleased with a movie that does its job pretty well, and keeps its viewers happy. For anyone out there who's into anything I just listed, this one will be a welcome addition to your must-watch list.

 

Dead Air
***
DVD
Directed by Corbin Bernsen
Written by Kenny Yakkel
Starring Bill Moseley, Corbin Bernsen, Patricia Tallman, Larry Drake
Produced by Corbin Bernsen, Chris Aronoff
R
2009
85 mins

First off, for those of you expecting a zombie movie, you will be somewhat disappointed, but only somewhat. See, Dead Air isn't really a zombie movie so much as it is one of those 28 Days Later-esque "rage virus" movies.

And this is directly related to the plot--in Dead Air, a handful of what I'm guessing is Arab terrorists as I don't recall any specific mention of just where they were from, set off a biological weapon at a college basketball game. In fact, it sounds like several of these were set off all over the United States, at large gatherings. The biological weapon in question works about like a kind of super-rabies, or even, yes, a "rage virus", turning people into snarling subhumanoids who want nothing so much as you, dead.

Thus, it's left to the uninfected to try and survive this catastrophe, including a handful of folks working the late shift at a radio station, to not only survive but also try and get word out by keeping their call-in show on the air during the crisis.

This isn't just an excellence in journalism sort of movie, folks, this is a good old fashioned flesh ripping dystopia romp that'll make you want to run out and buy a gun lest your neighbors end up just like these guys. There's plenty of action here and loads of fun besides. Bill Moseley has always been good in whatever he should happen to land in--he may well have been one of the only good points about both House of 1000 Corpses and Repo: The Genetic Opera, and he'll go on to be one of the many high points about this.

Okay, sure, it can be a little formulaic in that it's yet another movie about Arab / Muslim / whatever terrorists, kind of like Die Hard meets 28 Days Later, but it's still pretty entertaining and there will be some great and worthwhile twists going on here to keep things running nice and smoothly. Once you get past a couple of plot elements that really aren't worth anyone's time or effort, you'll find a pretty solid film lurking underneath. And yes, most of the cast is actually kind of unnecessary, as the solid core of Moseley, Moscow and Tallman are pretty much keeping things running all by themselves here, but those three are so good that you hardly notice that everyone else is pretty much just along for the ride.

The ending is actually a pretty big surprise, though not necessarily a well explained one. I'll let you catch that for yourself.

The special features includie a commentary track, a trailer for Dead Air, a behind the shot featurette explaining some of the better shots, and a featurette called "fly on the wall" where you'll get to watch Patricia Tallman and Bill Moseley talk shop between takes.

All in all, Dead Air is a pretty sweet little package--maybe not as good as it could have been, but still plenty of fun to go around.

 

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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