MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
Carlos Bernard as AARON RITTER
Mathew St. Patrick as SETH STEADMAN
Rockmond Dunbar as KANE
Courtney Ford as STERLING
Jeffrey Licon as BENNY
Samantha Streets as WHITNEY
Available on DVD February 17
Studio: Raw Feed
Directed by: Ben Rock
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The workers in a small-town grocery store are ready to close their doors for the night when a mysterious group of robbers burst in and take the store hostage. However, their motivations are more than greed. They’re looking for something in the hostages – an alien force that is trying to breed and spread throughout the land. With the police ready to rescue the hostages, and their alien spotter shot, the raiders must find a new way to detect the alien presence in the people they are holding.
WHAT I LIKED
This was one of the more impressive and surprising direct-to-DVD thrillers I’ve seen in a long while. Sure, it was a bit predictable, especially if you know the film’s title and have glanced at the cover box. However, there was an uneasy feeling that came with watching this film, a somewhat pleasant uneasy feeling you want to have while watching a horror thriller.
“Alien Raiders” reminded me of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” where the movie changes tone significantly in the middle. However, “Alien Raiders” does this with a much more subtle approach near the middle. Rather than having the alien forces running rampant in the middle of the film, things are taking place behind the scenes. What could have been a fairly rote monster movie gives us a level of suspense that you normally don’t get for a film that comes in under the radar.
It was also nice to see Carlos Bernard, best known as Tony Almeida in “24,” get a nice starring role. He plays a similar character to Tony from “24,” with a slight twist. So he’s staying in his comfort zone while stretching at the same time.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Like many suspense movies, in order to uphold the drama, there needs to be a certain degree of miscommunication. If you think too hard about the “science” behind the film, there is most likely a giant logic gap. I can forgive this for a small-budget sci-fi thriller. Additionally, some of the members of the raiders team are a bit too over-the-top and violent for their own reveal. It may work for your basic grocery store robber, but these characters wouldn’t totally act this way with their revealed backstory.
There are quite a few behind-the-scenes featurettes from the “Alien Raiders” set. Featurettes include “Hidden Terror: The Making of Alien Raiders” and “Blood, Sweat and Fears: The Special Effects of Alien Raiders.” A gallery of Raw Feed movie trailers are also included.
From the more viral marketing side, there’s “Lost Tapes” from the alien raiders files, which explain the in-character science behind the film. Another in-character featurette shows the blog posts from one of the aliens.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Sci-fi/horror/action junkies and anyone who likes a good direct-to-DVD thriller.