I found out about this when I got back into writing after my car accident. I bought some back issues of Fangoria, and this actually had a lengthy article. As soon as it was released onto Netflix DVD, I made sure to get it. I thought it was incredible. The creature designs and effects are insane. The overall story and acting impressed me as well. Once again, I was in a nostalgic mood and decided to take a trip to cinematic memory lane. Am I still impressed? Is this still one of my favorite horror movies of all time.
Well…not exactly. You can’t ignore all of the work that went into designing and fabricating the creatures. It is mind blowing to see how every one has a different function and movement. That’s…about it. After watching again, I see the story is a bit lacking. The first 20 minutes or so is just filler to get to the first round of monsters/soldiers. Every scene after that feels like it was added to stretch out the running time. If you take out those moments, I believe the whole thing would have only been about 25-30 minutes. The biggest issue I have is the idea to make it found footage.
On the one hand, it is a great choice. The aged and oftentimes grainy footage makes you feel like this really was a part of history, even though the concept is a little nuts. On the other hand, a part of me wonders if the found footage angle was a way to hide flaws or a lack of ideas. Given the plot, you do expect to see quite a bit of insanity. But it seems like it decides to hold back quite a bit. You see a lot of body parts and gore, but I was hoping to actually see more of the assembly of these creatures.
I give it 3/5. I love the special effects team behind this. As far as I’m concerned, this is award winning work. However, that’s really the only redeeming factor. The rest of the movie seems to have been created as an afterthought. I’m starting to think that choosing to make it found footage did more harm that good. I say check it out, and just hang in there for the monsters. Other than that, don’t set your expectations too high.