Rednecks and Aliens, it’s one hell of a combo, don’t you think? Directed by Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project), Altered is a strange mixture of horror, comedy, and action. Plus, it doubles as a creature flick with that little ass alien in the lead role. I mean, now we finally see from where Cowboys and Aliens stole their concept from. I also very much appreciate that we’re diving into the thick of it right away. There’s no exposition, no waiting but bam we’re in a forest with our crew just huntin’ same ‘liens.
The lack of money proved again as a good motivator as in Alien Raiders, so the story and the script are really good. Especially if they are given to the steady hands of Adam Kaufman who nailed the lead here with his strong and convincing performance. The rest of the cast was solid too. This makes some of the gory scenes pretty disturbing, completely forgoing the comedy vibe.
Altered also features that sweet, sweet closed setting environment contributing to that claustrophobic throb in your gut, especially with the alien nearby. If you’re one of those people who dabble into really low-budget movies, you might have seen this same story over and over again. It’s pretty much the same situation as with Bigfoot movies. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of Bigfoot movies and I really can’t figure out why.
Trauma is a bitch. And Wyatt knows that all too well. He’s one of the four survivors of “The Incident” that happened years ago. The Incident took the life of one of his best friends and left him and his buddies altered for life. People deal with this shit in different ways, but the primal instinct of revenge is the first thing that comes to mind. Aliens experimenting on humans sounds awful, but humans hunting aliens’ sounds like revenge…
With a nice and simple setup, you can accomplish a lot of things. You can even have a thoughtful morality discussion in an action/horror flick. These are the little things that make the movie good, and there’s plenty of them here. Sure, this isn’t a masterpiece, but a refreshing take on an almost forgotten alien abduction and experimentation subgenre. It seems that after the X Files ended the whole thing just vanished, with a few movies still trying to explore the issue.
Back to the Altered, the thing that kinda annoyed me was the ending and the last twenty minutes that seemed a bit too clichéd and not compatible with the beginning. I also have to add that makeup effects were freaking awesome, just adding to that nasty atmosphere and punching way above their weight. Finally, if you’re looking for something to watch after this movie, check out Wyrmwood, a similar Australian horror-comedy focusing on the zombies instead of aliens. And I don’t need to remind you that the Feast trilogy is always a good choice.
Director: Eduardo Sánchez
Writer: Jamie Nash, Eduardo Sánchez
Cast: Adam Kaufman, Catherine Mangan, Brad William Henke, Michael C. Williams, Misty Rosas, James Gammon
Fun Facts: Was originally planned as a horror/comedy with the title “Probed”.