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Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (Blu-ray / DVD)

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Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

Aliens vs. Predator: RequiemStarring Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Tom Woodruff Jr., Ian Whyte

Directed by Colin Strause and Greg Strause

Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment


Dallas: “Eddie, you got power on that thing?”

Eddie: “Yeah, I just need some light.”

So went an exchange between two of Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem‘s main characters, and the irony is dumbfounding!

In this second go-around there wasn’t much else you could do to fans of this series to depress them further. Paul W(riting) S(ucks) Anderson’s lame attempt at a live action Aliens Vs. Predator film left many a black hole in thousands of hearts. There was only one way to go for first-time directors the Strause brothers, and that was up! Surely no one could craft a film as abysmal as Anderson’s, right? Once the red band trailer hit and fans saw some actual gore being tossed around, memories of the first PG-13 crap-fest started fading fast. Dare I say it, Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem looked like it was going to be good. The Strauses talked a good game, too. They promised a hard R rating. They promised to use physical effects for the creatures with minimal CGI. They promised the movie would be everything the first one wasn’t. While they did at least deliver for the most part on all that, what they didn’t promise was that they’d actually light the film so we could see what the hell was going on. Before I get into the dark dreary details, let’s take a look at the storyline.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem begins right after the events of the first film (couldn’t we just have made believe that didn’t happen?) with the PredAlien bursting through the chest of the Leno-chinned Predator whom we all came to hate. This gnarly little beast runs rampant on every Pred onboard the ship, thus causing it to crash to Earth in Colorado. From there facehuggers escape into the populace, aliens are hatched, and the shit hits the fan. Good thing another Predator is on its way to clean up this mess. Armed with Blue Shit™ that makes everything disappear and some cool weaponry, our hero creature quickly dispatches every Xenomorph he sees until its final showdown with the PredAlien. Throw some humans into the mix for gore value, and wham-mo instant sequel. For more on the story and the film, check out our AVPissed edition of Dinner for Fiends!

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

The Predator ship crashes to Earth. This scene happened in broad daylight. I kid you not.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

Dallas in Eddie’s car. Also broad daylight.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

There’s a facehugger and a victim in here somewhere. I swear

All I wanted was this … Aliens fighting Predators and gore. At this point I didn’t even care about a good storyline. That would have been great, but it seemed liked wishful thinking. Just give me some carnage, man! The red band trailer had me pumped until I realized it was also one of the film’s undoings. Here’s a hint to some industry folks: You may not want to show ninety percent of the good stuff in your movie in the trailer. Whose idea was this? What should have been a tease was more or less the whole enchilada! Things couldn’t get worse. Could they?

I have sat through Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem at least five times (this last time with every light in my house out); yet, I feel like I haven’t seen it once. Why, you ask? Because for whatever reason the film is so dark you can barely make out what’s going on. The great Daniel Pearl worked on this flick! How this happened is beyond me. Words alone can’t accurately describe what I’m talking about. You have to see it for yourself. Or, in this case, not see it for yourself. I’ve included nine screencaps for you that are prime examples of what I mean. These images were not tampered with in any way. It’s not even like I went out of my way to find the darkest ones that I could. These stills are from main shots from the film. Scenes in which the camera held on these moments for more than a few seconds. Even parts that take place in the daytime look murkier than a Florida swamp. Given that the Strause brothers come from a visual effects background, why they chose to do this is anyone’s guess. It’s just plain inexcusable. Click on the teaser images and prepare to stare in disbelief.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

This is supposed to be the first close-up of the PredAlien.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

According to the commentary there are supposed to be skinned Predators hanging in the background of this scene. Where?

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

An Alien crawling on some ceiling pipes. It’s there. No really, it is.

Being that this is the unrated edition, I’m sure you’re wondering what was added. Here’s what you get — a lot of cool stuff that you can barely see. Some more violence that you can barely make out. And a bit of exposition that fleshes out the story a fraction. The one saving grace here is that there is an added footage marker option that will appear on-screen when there’s new stuff to “see”. I wish more DVD’s would do this. It really is a nifty little extra.

To add insult to injury, the DVD’s special features are sure to infuriate you because in the wealth of supplemental stuff you can actually see all the cool things these guys had to work with. Everything you could imagine is here and covered extensively. Several still galleries, several behind-the-scenes featurettes, several “On the Set” type glimpses, and two commentaries. There’s certainly enough material to warrant this two-disc set, and Fox in no way skimped on the goodies. Seeing how the creatures were made, the sets fashioned, and the F/X pulled off is both interesting and ultimately heartbreaking. The Hive set? Badass! The look of the creatures? Spot on! Undeniably cool! If only someone would have brought a few bulbs to the set. Maybe a glow stick? Some matches? We could have actually have had something.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

The Predator in … I think it was supposed to be a tree.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

Behold the fight. Man, what action! Someone shoot me. Please. Thanks, I’ll wait.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

The final battle or two guys in fetish suits?

In the end Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem is without question a better film than its predecessor. Anderson’s movie had me leaving the theatre wanting to toss my leftover popcorn into the usher’s face for allowing me in. I was physically angry. This one? This one reminded me what a good movie it could have been. During the Strause brothers’ commentary track they talk about what they thought the fans would be grilling them for. You know, little inconsistencies here and there. Maybe that’s why they kept things so stupidly dark, hoping that if we couldn’t see it, then we couldn’t complain. Guess you can’t win, huh guys? There’s no question Colin and Greg had their hearts in the right places. It’s just too bad they kept their directing skills floating somewhere in deep space along with the debris of the Nostromo.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with the Strause brothers and producer John Davis
  • Audio commentary with Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis
  • Added footage marker
  • Digital copy feature
  • Prepare for War: The Making of AVP-R featurette
  • Fight to the Finish: The Making of AVP-R featurette
  • AVP-R: The Nightmare Returns – Creating the Aliens featurette
  • Crossbreed: The PredAlien featurette
  • Building the Predator Homeworld featurette
  • Designing the Predator featurette
  • Designing the Alien featurette
  • Designing the PredAlien featurette
  • On Set: The Rooftop featurette
  • On Set: The Sewer featurette
  • On Set: The Hive featurette
  • On Set: Cast & Crew featurette
  • Still Design Galleries
  • Theatrical trailers (including Restricted Audience trailer

  • Film
  • Special Features
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KAET MUST DIE Review – A Game Worthy Of Its Title

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Kaet Must DieDeveloped and Produced by Strength in Numbers Studios, Inc.

Available on PC through Steam

Rated T for Teen


If you are looking for a new survival horror game that is both challenging and irritating, then Kaet Must Die could be your new obsession/torture. The indie game is set in an underground sewer where you are Kaet, a psionicist cyber punk trapped by a “blood witch” named Annalinnia. The objective is to figure out how to escape the ‘dank’ sewer before time runs out and Annalinnia takes your life. Along the way you’ll have to tiptoe over comatosed zombies and frighten off Jawa like creatures with light you absorb from glowing mushrooms. And that’s about it. The game was created and developed by Strength in Numbers Studios Inc., a fairly new gaming company in the world of survival horror.

Now, I normally don’t play these types of survival games. As a novice in the indie survival genre, the experience of trying to complete the first level of Kaet Must Die was quite tedious. Now this is to be expected, as their advertising makes it quite clear that the good folks at Strength In Numbers studios are shooting for the “difficult games are fun” crowd. They give the player plenty of warning that they will need more than luck to survive. Yet here I am to tell you that the first level is possible to get through regardless of what difficulty you select. It just might take a few hunderd tries.

Kaet Must Die

The game starts you off in the underground sewer with Kaet’s sanity at ten (read “sanity” as “health bar). Kaet’s sanity will drop when not in lit areas, another reason why you need to collect the glowing mushrooms. Having six minutes to follow the clues and find the skulls before time runs out gets tricky, especially when Anna comes for you by randomly generating around the map until luck is no longer your friend. Levels will become progressively more difficult, and your time limit changes depending on the size of the map. It’s not terribly complicated, but also not terribly exciting.

Kaet Must Die

There are a few upsides to Kaet Must Die. Like every good survival game, Kaet Must Die has decently immersive visuals and sound. The look and feel of the game is much more appealing than some, from the detailing of the zombies to the sewers you land yourself in. Not that sewers are a pretty place to be in, but they have a solid fantasy/horror vibe. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of cohesion to the various sub-par lights and average shapes. It can be downright impossible to tell where things are around you. You’ll want to keep your ears open, as frustration will become all too familiar when you are too late to hear the gentle snoring of a zombie or the disturbing giggle of the Jawa-like creatures.

Kaet Must Die

I would say that it’s nice that they at least let me change the controls, but for some reason they don’t save when you quit the game. The only settings that stay exactly where you set them are the basics for resolution, sensitivity, and graphics. Now, what is not so frustrating is that after you get killed three or four hundred times, the skulls that you need to escape Anna won’t randomly be somewhere else when you restart the level. Another upside is that as you slowly start to regain Kaet’s powers, you will finally be able to slow down the creatures and make your way to exactly where you need to go. One of Kaet’s powers is the classic stun. Using this power to stun any monster in place for at least five seconds was a relief, and gave me time to focus at the task at hand. Like the mushrooms, Kaet’s stun powers need to be recharged by absorbing puddles of glowing red blood. Simple, right? Well, sort of. Clues left behind hint that the blood makes you more powerful, but also slowly kills you.

For anyone who is not typically good at horror survival games, this isn’t for you unless you have the patience of a saint. The difficulty comes in three flavors: Challenging (Easy), Difficulty (Normal), and Nightmare (Hard). If you’re one of those people that absolutely must have a zombie apocalypse survival plan for any possible situation, you’ll probably find some enjoyment from Kaet Must Die. For everyone else, I would wait for a Steam sale. There are 10 levels to get through to beat this game, but have fun and good luck getting past level 1.

  • Kaet Must Die
2.0

Summary

This indie survival game is too irritating to play. Kaet Must Die is near impossible to finish and it’s not a lot of fun no matter how many times you die..

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BAD SAMARITAN Review – The Good, The Bad, And The Incredibly Sexy UK Men

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Starring David Tennant, Robert Sheehan, Kerry Condon, Jacqueline Byers, Carlito Olivero

Written by Brandon Boyce

Directed by Dean Devlin


Let’s face it, you should be a bit reluctant to leave your car with a valet. Nevermind them taking your CDs and discarded fast food wrappers. What if you check your previous destinations and find that they didn’t just go straight to the parking lot? Well, assume that valets do exactly that, but they end up doing it to a psychopath. Bad Samaritan is exactly the kind of horror story crooked valet drivers should fear.

Sean Falco (Sheehan), is a struggling artist working as a part time valet driver. Sean and his best friend Derek (Olivero) come up with the clever scheme to use their valet access to burglarize the homes of wealthy customers. All is sunshine and grand theft until they decided to rob the wrong man. One night, the arrogant wealthy businessman Cale Erendreich (Tennant) pulls up in a Maserati. Sean jumps at the chance to make the score of his life. The burglary goes smoothly until Sean discovers a woman (Condon) chained up against her will. Unwilling to help her in fear of going to jail, Sean leaves her behind. Naturally conflicted by this decision, a guilty conscious isn’t the only thing that Sean has to deal with. Not super pleased that his house has been broken into and secret found out, Cale does everything in his power to tear Sean’s life apart piece by piece. To redeem himself, Sean embarks on a quest to get the girl back and in the process learns what kind of man he really is.

The highlight of the film is David Tennant’s portrayal of the Bad Samaritan himself, Cale Erendreich. Much more than just a cutthroat corporate businessman with a bondage fetish, this private man has quite a few secrets of his own. Returning home from a normal night out and finding his inner sanctum has been compromised, he quickly covers his tracks before Sean even involves the police with his ‘correction’ process. Tennant excels in his performance, ditching his natural charm for a devious intellect that just makes you squirm. Of course this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Tennant play the baddie, but Erendeich is an entirely different beast from Killgrave. Between Bad Samaritan and the verbal manipulator he played in the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones, Erendreich is both more grounded and diabolical than Killgrave. Erendreich is much closer to reality, a chilling man that you could all too easily read about on your morning news feed. He can blend in with the crowd without the use of mind control and has the kind of monstrous intellect that is only revealed to those who cross him.

A villain is nothing without its hero, and Robert Sheehan’s performance as Sean Falco was an excellent match for his creepy counterpart. Prior to Bad Samaritan Sheehan’s most memorable breakout role was on the BBC television show, Misfits, and his ongoing film/television career in upcoming projects such as Mortal Engines and an upcoming Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy. Sean doesn’t initially seem to be the hero type. Hell, he leaves a girl chained up in a psychopath’s house. That’s some swipe-left shit. But hey, no one’s perfect. He’s just a regular guy in a bad situation, and as the film goes on he slowly starts filling the shoes he’s found himself in. No matter who or what Sean loses in the process, his goal throughout the entire film is to save the girl he left behind. He’s not just proving to the audience that he’s the good guy, he’s proving it to himself.

Now if you’re looking for buckets of blood in your crazed killer films, then Bad Samaritan will leave you disappointed. The gore is mild, with little more than a few dead bodies here and there. Not to say that the film is without some solid murder. There’s solid action when Erendreich goes after Sean’s loved ones, and the film is thoroughly intense throughout. Still, if you’re looking for a slasher movie to throw on at a party, Bad Samaritan won’t fit the bill. That being said, it’s a great gateway horror film for those just sticking their toes in the bloody waters.

Bad Samaritan had everything that you could ask for in a horror/thriller, having a well balanced story, the right amount of jump scares to give you that surge of adrenaline, and strong characters portrayed by a talented ensemble. This was a solid directorial debut for Dean Devlin and I look forward to seeing what else he does with the horror/thriller genre. Maybe next time starring Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi. *Swoon*

  • Bad Samaritan
3.5

Summary

An enjoyable experience with a talented cast, Bad Samaritan is worth checking out just for the performances. It’s a thrilling battle of wits and wills, but it ultimately doesn’t break the mold.

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ALIEN: THE COLD FORGE Book Review – The Best Addition To The Series Since ALIEN: ISOLATION

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Written by Alex White

Published by Titan Books


Whether you love or hate Ridley Scott’s Alien prequels, there’s no denying they’ve inspired lively debate. Scott’s new movies have opened up the Alien universe in intriguing new ways and expanded the mythology – whilst also sidelining the title monster. This is an unforgiving sin in the eyes of some, as is Scott’s suggestion Michael Fassbender’s evil android David will become the new “Alien” of the series. While a third prequel may or may not happen – the current wager leans towards “not” – the Xenomorph itself will always find plenty of work elsewhere to keep himself busy.

The Alien franchise has a robust fanbase across all forms of media, from video games to comics and novels, and some great stories have emerged from these spinoffs. There have been plenty of duds too – hey there, Aliens: Colonial Marines! – but there’re some real gems to be found. Thankfully, Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White falls into the latter category, being an intense ride through a story that may sound familiar but manages to constantly subvert – and surpass – expectations.

Alien: The Cold Forge follows Dorian Sudler, a Weyland–Yutani representative sent to a remote deep space research station dubbed The Cold Forge to find out why it’s research is falling behind. Needless to say, the station is secretly breeding Xenomorphs, and [SPOILER ALERT] it’s not long before they break out of containment and make life very difficult for the survivors.

Again, on the surface, The Cold Forge sounds like familiar ground, but it’s the execution that makes a big difference. What makes White’s novel sing is the characters, led by Sudler himself. The character is an utter shitbag of the highest order; he’s an odious, petty and vain creep who takes great joy in outsmarting and crushing opponents. From the opening chapter it’s crystal clear he’s not a good guy, and he gets progressively worse as the station descends into hell. That said, he’s an utterly compelling character too, and his twisted psychology and mind games make up a big part of the book.

One aspect of The Cold Forge that’s a lot of fun is that there are no heroes to be found, and pretty much everyone is deeply flawed. The closest the book has to a heroine is Blue Marsalis, a bedridden doctor who’s dying of a degenerative disease. The good doctor can use an interface to move around in the body of an android, and she hopes to find a cure for her condition by experimenting with the Xenomorph’s genetic structure. She may sound sympathetic, but like Sudler, she’s more than willing to use underhand tactics to achieve her goals, and the two characters lock horns from the start.

The character interplay is what makes the story feel fresh, and not just another boilerplate tale about aliens stalking victims and Weyland-Yutani once again conducting messy experiments. White is able to craft some tense and gory setpieces too, including a nail-biting passage where a barely mobile Marsalis has to outsmart a stalking monster. The book has some fun callbacks to past adventures and adds a couple of interesting wrinkles to the franchise mythos, including a look at what a Facehugger actually injects into its victims.

The Cold Forge is not a flawless ride; it can be tough to care about the fates of some of these characters since they’re all such assholes and while it can be tense at times, it’s never truly scary. That said, the novel is such a well-crafted experience it’s easy to overlook any niggling issues.

  • Alien: The Cold Forge
4.0

Summary

Alien: The Cold Forge is arguably the best Alien experience since the simulated bowel evacuator that was Alien: Isolation – which is not praise I throw around lightly.

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