Alien Origin (2012)
Directed by N/A
Whatever hot streak The Asylum has been on this year just came to an end. Alien Origin is the worst film they’ve churned out in years. You have to go back to the days of Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls and Monster to see an Asylum movie this painfully boring, this devoid of well… anything. There’s no plot, no sense that what we’re watching is actually building towards anything, no intrigue or suspense, nothing, nada, zilch. Not even any unintentional laughs. A complete step backwards from the progress The Asylum had been making thus far this year.
So boring is Alien Origin that the opening title sequence features a montage of lame action moments that do not occur until the last third of the movie; a montage I believe to be a desperate ploy to ensure the audience that if they watch long enough, eventually there will be some action. Lies, I tell you.
Soldiers slowly creep about the jungle for the majority of the interminable 90-minute running time. We’ll also watch them examine strange tree markings, talk to locals, stare at more unusual tree markings, talk to some more locals, talk to each other about whatever, react alarmed by strange noises in the woods at night, slowly explore the interior of several locations, build traps so astonishingly chintzy they look like Predator booby traps built by the Little Rascals, and periodically shoot indiscriminately into the jungle when attacked by something never actually seen.
Remember the classic scene in Predator where they all empty their guns into the jungle even though they have no idea what they’re actually supposed to be shooting at? This movie recycles that scene repeatedly, and not once is it ever even remotely exciting.
Judging by the cheapness of some of the pyrotechnics, I was not entirely sure if they were being ambushed by an extraterrestrial or a Chinese fireworks vendor. The latter would have probably been more interesting because at least they would have been able to afford to hire a Chinese person.
You never see the alien. Even when you get to see the alien, you don’t actually get to see the alien. A blur here, a shadow there; a ton of intentionally glitchy video distortions obscuring it the one and only time it appears full bodied on the screen in the final moments. That inhuman face you see on the DVD case is about all you’ll ever get a halfway decent look at, and since you’re already looking at it on the cover, big whoop.
The whole deal about explaining the shocking alien origins of life on Earth (there’s a reason they timed the release of this DVD to coincide with the opening of Prometheus) really doesn’t amount to anything until a closing epilogue that means nothing because nothing that preceded it amounted to anything.
The sad thing is the core idea behind Alien Origin isn’t a bad one. Predator remade in the style of REC could have been scary, thrilling, or fun. Maybe it would have been if the people making it actually had anything to work with, and I do mean anything. This looks to have been made with no money, about ten pages of script, and shot over a weekend. The only thing you’ll find here is a textbook example of what not to do when making a found footage movie.
Oh, I forgot. It’s all real, right? The Asylum really needs to lay off the gimmick of purporting their found footage movies to be genuine when they look as unrealistic as this.
Alien Origin is so uneventful I’d like to imagine it’s actually the found footage of a group of actors playing soldiers, a production assistant, and a cameraman who’ve gotten lost together in the jungle on their way to the set, and this video document chronicles their trek to find the movie they’re supposed to be taking part in.
It does deserve some credit for being the found footage movie that takes it to the next level by having a found footage movie within a found footage movie. You know a found footage movie is especially bad when the best part is getting to see the far more interesting found footage they discover along the way.
The first, last, and only time anything even remotely of interest happens is when they come across wreckage of a small boat out in the middle of the Belize jungle. The footage they view on a video camera amid the debris chronicling how it appears to have been abducted by aliens is inventively staged and pretty darn effective. This brief sequence is the only reason I’m not giving Alien Origin the outright FUCK THIS MOVIE! rating it deserves for having totally wasted my time and money.