Wednesday, 1 February 2012



Have you seen Ridley Scott's Alien? Yes, me too, several times. What about James Cameron's magnificent Aliens? Again, many times. You know who else who's seen Alien and Aliens? Gregory Connors, that's who: the director, co-producer, co-writer, set constructor and cast member of this noisy and outstandingly gory Australian SF/horror quickie that frankly couldn't be more Alien if it was actually Alien. Throw in some Doom and Resident Evil, add practically nothing original or innovative, but pump up the slime and zombies, and you have a serviceable, unremarkable but watchable action horror offering which serves up its borrowings with a certain degree of panache and enthusiasm.

Alien Undead isn't very good: it's nothing that hasn't been seen before on numerous occasions and frequently better. A young woman wakes up in a sterile white space somewhere in an underground research complex on another planet, to discover not just an army of flesh eating zombies oozing slime and blood all over the place, but a squad of badass mercenaries assigned to rescue the survivors. As they clamber through vents, hole up in laboratories and tool up with as much weaponry as they can carry (why does a research complex have an armoury?) it becomes clear that one of the survivors knows far more than they're letting on: just what have they been working on and how can they stop it now that it's loose?

The secret they've unleashed is actually pretty bonkers and that's probably the one true note of originality in the whole film. Much of it is shamelessly filched from the Alien movies (one character is even named Yutani!) and any computer games involving running through tunnels shooting zombies. But at least when it comes to the splattery gore they don't hold back at all, and it's done with a refreshing absence of CGI: opting instead for good old-fashioned prosthetics, make-up appliances and exploding squibs. Most of not all of the external effects are done with physical models instead of computer generated ones and they look at least a thousand times better because they actually exist in the real world rather than just as a file on a hard drive.

Most horror movies don't do anything new anyway, in many ways their success depends on the variations rather than the theme. Alien Undead (also known as The Dark Lurking, which is frankly a rubbish title) is playing a very simple theme, but it's doing it just about well enough to get by. At the very least, there's enough incident to keep it from getting dull.


You've seen better, but you've seen much worse:

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