CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: NEIL ROWE / STARRING: KATHERINE DRAKE, RITCHIE CRANE, PHILIP ALEXANDER BAKER, MICHAEL TERRY / RELEASE DATE: JULY 20TH
Police Sergeant Zoe Norris (Drake), who has emigrated from Canada to be with her husband’s family, is happy with the sleepy rural beat she has got. That is until a spate of suicides - including several right in front of her eyes - lead her to think something is amiss. There is even more panic in the fells when the village comes under attack by metallic alien craft. Alongside the only member of her team she can find, Patrick (Crane), Norris attempts to figure out what’s going on and save the remainder of the community. With large obelisk-style vehicles and seemingly indestructible, dog-like iron critters appearing everywhere, is there any way to escape or survive?
Alien Outbreak, despite the common title and humble budget is an unexpectedly well-made film. The script is tight, and full of action and tension. It may falter with some unlikely decisions made by characters and some acting wobbles here and there, but these are minor niggles and certainly not enough to spoil the enjoyment.
Low budget sci-fi films tend to fail because of one thing: the special effects. These cost money, so it’s surprising to see how great they are here. While much of the film is shot in murky, hard to see dim light, the aliens are there in broad daylight and look fantastic. No ropey Sharknado-style CGI here. Boasting alien designs and execution that could rival any Hollywood blockbuster, Rowe’s film rises above the pack. The fact the writer/director did the visuals himself makes it even more of an achievement. Rowe’s wife Amanda provides the solid, stirring score that underpins the action perfectly, evoking elements of John Carpenter’s best while not straying into copycat territory.
Independent films have a hard enough time as it is, whether it’s to be seen seriously or even to be made in the first place. Ignore the generic appearance and your preconceived notions and give it a try, you might well be blown away.