Because I was in an unusually good mood last night, I decided to ruin it by finding out just what movies that exist in the sub-SyFy cellar are like. Oddly enough, when I looked into it I found that Belgium and Holland’s SyFy channels funded it in some small way, but I don’t think that counts (and the US channel has never shown it).
Do you appreciate how boring “Alien Dawn” must have been if I’m leading off with how it was funded? I can’t even summon up any lame jokes about it. Towards the end, I was wishing I knitted so I’d have something to occupy my attention a little – this movie almost defied me to stick with it til the end. A movie of people knitting might actually have been more exciting.
Fairly early on, it became apparent that I was dealing with a cross between “War Of The Worlds” and “Skyline”. The plot – giant tripod aliens come and wipe us out for no reason (WOTW); the setting – a variety of enclosed rooms where all the fun stuff is going on elsewhere (Skyline). They borrow a bit of plot from Skyline too, with the aliens harvesting humans, and a bit of setting from WOTW with the odd running battle between humans and tripods. Sadly, they borrow most from the cheap Asylum version of “WOTW”, and “Skyline”, while a potentially interesting idea, was dull as hell too.
They at least try something different at the beginning – okay, it’s cutting in a really weird way and trying to give the viewers a headache, but it’s still different. After a jumble of images which show us the aliens setting off from Mars on day 1, and the human race being wiped out to such an extent that people are scavenging for food by day 2, we’re right in the action. But before then, I wouldn’t have fun meals, but I could survive for three or four days on what is in my cupboards right now – and if people are being killed at such a rate, there’d be lots of empty houses with lots of food inside. But there’s armed standoffs outside supermarkets on day 2. I’m only ten minutes into the recap, and it’s annoying the hell out of me.
The movie centres around three people, who feud with each other but are good friends really. Marissa, Anders, and Roger are their names, and from time to time Marissa does a bit of a video diary (well, a lot of a video diary), while Anders and Roger argue. And boy, do they argue – what feels like half the movie is them in a tiny room arguing about food, or the aliens, or what time of day it is. I’d lay good odds on a lot of their dialogue being improvised – it has the air of “you’re both angry about a bag of crisps…and go!” direction. When one of the characters does a monologue at the end and it sucks, you can sort of understand why there’s so much improv.
Oddly enough, the giant robot effects actually look pretty good. Someone’s made a bit of effort trying to get them to match the scenery in terms of lighting and not looking like they’re floating on top of the film; and even though it’s not perfect, kudos to them. No kudos to the sound guy, unfortunately, who makes the alien lasers sound like a kid’s toy, and record outdoor sound indoors and don’t bother masking it, so someone shouting in the middle of a field will have that weird metallic echo.
There’s really not much more to write about this one. It’s dull, has been done better hundreds of times before, has rotten acting and is cheap as hell. But there is a sequel! I’ll get to know about what happened to…er…blondey, and the guy with the face, and that kid! Such immortal characterisation. And what about the bloke with the, er, shirt? Ah, good times.
Anyway, don’t be silly if you see this. The cover may try and fool you, but be strong, and pick…well, just about anything else.
Rating: thumbs down