Alien Raiders (DVD)

Alien Raiders DVDReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Derek Basco, Rockmond Dunbar, Carlos Bernard, Bonita Friedericy, Mathew St. Patrick

Directed by Ben Rock

Distributed by Warner Brothers Home Video Entertainment

So what’s in a name? When this film first came to light, it was being called Supermarket. Though not great, the title was at the very least ambiguous. From there it went through several other monikers until it was finally decided by the powers-that-be that it should be called “>Alien Raiders. That’s right — Alien Raiders. Probably one of the worst titles I’ve seen in many years. It’s the type of title that most people would see sitting on the shelf of their local video or electronics store, chuckle to themselves, and then walk right by. I’m going to do something right now that I never do — I am going to beg you — Please do not make that mistake! This film should not be ignored! Hell, this film should have gone theatrical instead of direct-to-video! If you’re a fan of the genre, this is nothing short of a must-see! Now then … on to the review.

Ritter (“24″‘s Carlos Bernard) is a man on a mission. He and his crew that includes “Prison Break”‘s badass supreme Rockmond Dunbar, have taken an entire supermarket hostage. It appears there is a heist of sorts going on, but Ritter and crew aren’t checking around for registers and safes. Instead they’re checking people. This is no robbery. This is something entirely different. Something no one has ever seen before, no one except this elite group of folks who are armed to the teeth and ready to do whatever is necessary to accomplish their mission of finding the main breeder who has been turning other people into aliens. It all comes down to this place, this time, and it’s going to be one hell of a long night.

Alien Raiders DVDOf course the police of this small town show up led by Seth Steadman (“Six Feet Under” alumnus Mathew St. Patrick). Seth has a vested interest in what’s going on inside the store as his stepdaughter is one of the people who are being held hostage. In nintey minutes three worlds collide — the cops, the assailants, and the aliens, creating a tension-filled, action-packed thrill ride that you really have to see to truly dig on.

Alien Raiders works on several levels. Just like the classic From Dusk Till Dawn, if not for the ridiculous title, you wouldn’t have any idea this was a genre film for the first third of the movie. The acting is top notch and notable. This is a TV geek’s dream what with favorites from three stellar shows not only going above and beyond, but also making their horror flick debuts! Yet make no mistake; the real stars here are the aliens. Though the creature effects are without question minimalist for the most part, it’s Ben Rock’s direction and ability to create tension that sells this film. When the shit hits the fan, it never stops, never ceases, and never slows. Rock, who got his start working with Ed Sanchez and Dan Myrick on The Blair Witch Project, has made a truly memorable feature film debut. I cannot wait to see what will be next from him! Maybe a sequel? Ben? Please?

Alien Raiders DVDThe DVD features are also packing some serious punch. Though the behind-the-scenes stuff is pretty much standard, it’s the passion of everyone involved that makes them stand out. These guys loved what they were doing, and it shows on every frame of film. While the making-of stuff is good, it’s the three fictitious featurettes that provide the back story for the events leading up to the debacle at the supermarket that sell the package. From videotapes to blogs, the mythology of this tale is a living, breathing entity. Rock is no stranger to creating stuff like this as he directed the TV tie-ins “The Burkitsville Seven” and “Shadows of the Blair Witch” while he was coming up in the biz. The guy’s just a natural storyteller.

Alien Raiders is not a masterpiece that will reinvent horror cinema, and the only thing it will probably ever win is the hearts of fans everywhere. It’s just a good old-fashioned monster movie that’s poised and ready to knock you on your collective asses! Hell, yeah!

Special Features:

  • Hidden Terror: The Making-of Alien Raiders featurette
  • Blood, Sweat and Fears: The Special Effects of Alien Raiders featurette
  • Tape #9 Sterling Explains Alien featurette
  • Tape #12 Spookie’s Job featurette
  • Whitney Cam featurette
  • Raw Feed trailers


    4 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

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    Steve Barton

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    • Zayzie

      This is the good stuff. I would love to see the prequel to it, because this is a fun monster movie, good old fashioned SNAFU. These guys do everything right, and the only reason it goes wrong is that humans will be humans, especially in a hostage situation. I didn’t actually read your review the whole way through, I read the first two paragraphs and went “hmm I think I’ll watch it and come back and read the rest,” and boy it was a ride. It’s very rare that I sit back and come to the end of the movie that I’m admiring those ugly badass mofos, and putting them on a Kill on Sight list, along with Xenomorphs, Predators, zombies, and any mutated creature of the animal kingdom. Or I could put them on my Run on Sight list too.

    • Gus Bjork

      It was good. It never got dull and all the elements worked (acting, sound f/x, spfx). I wouldn’t call it great, there was nothing in particular that stood out enough for it to leave it’s stamp. I would recommend it but with realistic expectations. I would especially recommend it to anyone getting burned out with horror movie excess. I did really appreciate the restraint it showed with gore, nudity and language. I don’t have a problem with any of these (well, until it just goes too far) but it’s neat to see a starting horror filmmaker trying to make there name without getting into attention seeking behavior.

      This is the type of movie I would like to see the sci-fi channel (or whatever the hell it calls itself now) emulate and encourage. Just back off the formula and let some creativity from filmakers came into play.

    • Doc Block

      Great flick! Completely agree with this review. I would’ve passed this up, if I hadn’t read about it. Thanks for the recommendation. I loved every minute of it!

    • Avid Fan

      I saw this at the Lovecraft Film Fest in Portland, OR last year. Really fun flick, a bit similar to The Mist in that the characters are holed up in a grocery store, but the sceanrio plays out well and keeps the pace moving to keep it interesting. Agreed, the acting is excellent and the effects, sublte or otherwise work well. I think they could have been a bit more inventive with the title (comes across sounding like the Sci-Fi movie of the week), but let’s hope the film transcends this, it’s not like we judged The Evil Dead on it’s title did we, or did we. Different times these are I suppose.

    • nakattack

      Sounds awesome! I’ll have to get this one. Any news on that other alien flick “Bad Aliens?”