It’s Christmas Day. Maybe there’s snow on the ground. The children are waking you up early to open presents ‘cause Santa’s been here. The turkey is cooking in the oven, and things are just a little more warm and fuzzy in your world. What better way to celebrate Christ’s birth than watching two warring alien races kicking the holy hell out of each other?
For the past several years, Hollywood has dropped a horror movie as a Christmas Day opening. Last year’s Black Christmas sucked so bad I almost lost my figgy pudding, so I was arguably nervous when I heard that the anticipated sequel to Alien vs. Predator was coming out on December 25 this year.
Still, I’m a big fan of both the Alien and the Predator films. I’ve seen them all, and I even enjoyed Aliens vs. Predator a couple years ago, so I was looking forward to the movie. And when the credits rolled, I was at least content that I got exactly what I expected.
I can’t accurately say that Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is a good film. Really, it’s not. But it is enjoyable. It’s one of those movies that you don’t see for plot or characters or deep spiritual discovery. You’re seeing it because you want to see Aliens and Predators go toe to toe.
The story is ludicrous and the characters are a mess. While all seven preceding movies (four Alien ones, two Predators and a single double bill) may not have had the best plots, they tended to make their own cliches. This new film, however, dips into the cliche well of the slasher movies and cheap horror flicks of the 80s and 90s.
A small mountain town seems like the perfect place to live… until a Predator ship crashes in the woods, unleashing an army of Aliens led by a fantastically vicious Alien/Predator hybrid. Soon, another Predator comes from the home world to clean up the town, which has been overrun by Polaroid Aliens, which seem to pop out instantly from their victims in a matter of hours.
I’m not going to bother with who the characters are, since they’re really nothing more than xenomorph bait. I will tell you that they’re the dumbest population for a mountain town that has ever faced imminent threat in a horror movie. Somehow, they don’t hear the crashing ship, or the massive explosion when the Predator clean-up specialist incinerates the ship.
It gets worse, with them not noticing Aliens literally exploding into their streets and refusing to evacuate in order to break into the local sporting goods store to steal some guns. All this played well because by the end, it was fun to watch the humans get picked off.
This new film is, at times, a strong action flick. Other times, it’s a gore-fest, with lots of gruesome blood effects and human mutilation. This isn’t a surprise since the film is directed by visual effects gurus-turned-director The Brothers Strause. When it comes to character and plot, the film could have been easily directed by The Brothers Sprouse (aka Zack and Cody from Disney Channel’s The Suite Life).
But the film is saved when the Aliens and the Predator are on-screen. The large cast leads to a ridiculous body county. Yet, the draw of the movie is still there – a big, fat Aliens and Predator smackdown.
And that was enough to make a horror film geek like me giggle on Christmas.
The Upside: Aliens and a Predator beating the shit out of each other.
The Downside: A recycled plot from the remake of The Blob.
On the Side: While this film picks up right where the last one left off, the Weyland corporation and actor Lance Henriksen is not to be seen.