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Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) aka AVPR
Tonight's Feature Presentation

ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (2007)

Starring: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Kristen Hager

Written By: Shane Salerno Directed By: "The Brothers Strause"

The Short Version

Well, so much for this mashup franchise.

Two brilliant sci fi/action icons are reduced to common camp slasherhood.

And who put these horrible humans here?

It looks like the goal of this flick was to ante up on the phrase “that’s just wrong.”

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is an awful movie that can only be considered watchable by a select few.


The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

AMERICAN.

Yeah, it’s edible, but it’s just wrong.


Pairs Well With...

BUDWESIER & CLAMATO CHELADA.

Yes, they sell that abominable combination in a single can.  That’s just wrong.

Oh, who am I kidding?  Nothing pairs with that shit, even this flick.  Hit up a case of COORS LIGHT low mediocrity instead.

“Wait a second.  We’re gonna be covered in shit?”


Every time I think of the movie Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, a single phrase repeats in my head over and over again: “That’s just wrong.”

While I doubt that the directorial duo of “The Brothers Strause” (Colin and Greg, not to be confused with the funny guys on “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”), whom I understand to be truly reverential fans of both the Alien and Predator franchises and who put an awful lot of love and effort into this flick, actually made bets with each other to see who could ante up the hardest on the idea of “that’s just wrong” from one scene to the next, I can’t help but feel like they did every time I sit down to watch Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.  The Beatles may tell you that “all you need is love,” but at least when it comes to the realm of filmmaking, this flick proves that the Fab Four are full of it.

My sharper readers may have caught the phrase “every time I sit down to watch…” and noted that this would indicate repeat viewings, perhaps even on purpose.  Despite the fact that Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is a truly horrible movie on almost but not quite every critical level I can think of, those people would be correct.  I have in fact seen this flick at least five times, and will at some point end up watching it again.  This is because even though it is definitely not “so bad that it’s good,” Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (I refuse to take the lazy way out and call it AVPR, because I have an attention span and encourage others to have one, too) is awful in a way that’s just compelling enough to serve as credible and infinitely lampoonable cinema noise for a certain class of viewer (like me) on nights when such a viewer just wants to see monsters kill stupid people and not have to think too much about it.  (Neither the viewers nor the monsters are expected to think too much, by the way.)

The movie still sucks, of course, but it sucks in an oddly watchable way: a way that is punctuated by frequent outbursts of “that’s just wrong.

As for how that wrongness manifests itself…

At first glance, the premise seems serviceable enough.  Picking up exactly where Alien vs. Predator left off, we start with a newborn Alien/Predator hybrid (the filmmakers called him “Chet”) wreaking havoc aboard a Predator ship that’s just left Antarctica.  Green blood flies everywhere, and the ship comes crashing down to Earth, which in turns allows Chet (and several facehuggers whose glass containers conveniently shattered during the fighting/crash impact) to head out into the woods just outside the sleepy town of Crested Butte, Colorado to wreak even more havoc.  Fortunately for the people of Crested Butte, however, a lone Predator back on the homeworld (the filmmakers called him “Wolf”) has homed in on the crashed ship’s distress beacon, and speeds off to Earth to clean up the mess.  That’s gotta be good for the local humans, right?  Or at least the ones in the audience, surely?

With a different screenwriter and a whole lot of other different people thrown into the mix, maybe; but instead, this flick gives us Shane Salerno (who served as a “script doctor” for the previous film) and the aforementioned Brothers Strause, whose readily apparent enthusiasm is no substitute for… well, anything, really.  Unfortunately, after a scant few minutes of promise, these gents (and, sadly, most of the people working for them in front of the camera, as well) chuck all of that promise out the window in favor of making a really crappy camp slasher flick with a whole bunch of “double dog dare you” thrown in.

I understand and appreciate that all of the films that came before this one were either of the elimination horror or elimination action molds.  But for anyone who pays attention to these genres, there’s a difference between elimination flicks and camp slashers.  I could easily call this difference intangible (for the most part, it is), but if you must, consider it a measure of maturity, both in terms of the character types in front of the camera and the stylistic approach coming from behind it.  In the case of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, the human characters in front of the camera are the very worst kind of slasher bait: poorly acted, lazily written stereotypes about whom it is not only impossible to care, but whom one may even become easily inclined to feed to the rampaging monsters without a second thought.  (I exclude the small children from this, of course.  Yeah; small children.  Hold that thought.)  I might be okay with this if said stupid humans just kinda showed up from time to time, but no; after the initial crash action, the movie pauses for what feels like a decade and a half to introduce everyone to the featured population of Loserville, including the ex-con who’s friends with the Sheriff, his socially inept brother who has the hots for the obligatory rich blonde who in turn starts off the film as the girlfriend of the town’s biggest douchebag (these last three are all supposed to be high school students, by the way, despite clearly being much older), and a female soldier just returned from deployment who is so unconvincing during what I’m pretty sure was supposed to be a heart tugging reunion scene that we have to wonder if the actress involved had ever even seen pictures of the people playing her alleged husband and daughter before the cameras started to roll.  There’s bullying, there’s family drama, there’s a secret date and why should anyone give a damn about these boring ass excuses for rejected Mellencamp lyrics just show us some freaking space monsters already!   Ahem.  So yeah, way too much time is spent trying to make the audience care about the humans, who are, in fact, so lame that any attempt to let people get to know them just plain backfires.  Bonus lame: one would think that after all this boring crap, the filmmakers might at least reward the audience (in proper slasher style) with some skin during the secret supposed-to-be-naked swimming pool rendezvous, but no.  Not even in the Unrated cut.  (Back to that shortly.)

Perhaps you’re thinking that maybe at least all of this lameness means that it’s rewarding to watch these stupid people die, but it’s not.  Why?  Because, much like the audience, it turns out that the monsters everyone is actually paying to see – to wit, the Aliens and the Predator – don’t really give a shit about them.  Sure, an Alien will chow down if it happens to be in the same room, but it’s not like any of the major characters are actually being stalked elimination style.  They’re just meat that’s in the way, and nothing more, utterly superfluous to the story at hand.  Indeed, most of their scenes could have easily been cut, and this would have been a much better movie for it.

So what, exactly, do these stupid characters get in the way of?

Mayhem.  Constantly escalating mayhem.

If there’s one positive thing that can be said about the creative team behind Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, it’s that they paid attention to the popular complaints leveled against the previous Alien vs. Predator.  Convoluted premise?  Gone.  And, most importantly, PG-13 rating?  Not a snowball’s chance in hell.  People were furious when the original mashup dared to release with a “family friendly” rating, so the Brothers Strause made sure that their film was going to not only get an “R” rating, but that it would damn well earn it.  How did they do that?  By boldly going where neither franchise had gone before, and then raising the stakes from scene to scene.  (In fact, they went too far for the MPAA, which is why the Unrated cut of this flick really deserves that title.  If you’re interested in seeing the differences, there’s a marking feature on most prints of the film that are currently out there.)

We start by having an alien successfully implant in a child for the first time (they never succeeded with Newt), and then escalate to seeing said alien burst from said child’s chest.  (On camera in the Unrated version.)  Not squicky enough?  How about going after a pregnant woman?  Still not squicky enough?  How about finding out that said pregnant woman wasn’t eaten after all, but instead implanted by Chet (who is apparently not just an Alien/Predator hybrid, but also a neo-queen who skips the egg/facehugger step and implants eggs by essentially Frenching a victim and spitting them down the hatch), and then watching her give bloody birth to Alien triplets by way of bellybursting?  Are you catching my drift yet with regard to escalations and the phrase “that’s just wrong”?  How about when Chet moves on from a single pregnant woman in a pizza parlor to an entire maternity ward?

Oh yeah; this flick goes there.  And it is absolutely, positively, jaw-droppingly wrong.

(Have I mentioned that Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was originally released at Christmas time?)

Savvy fans may have noticed that on the way to becoming so wrong, some cardinal rules about what these monsters are supposed to be get broken.  This is where I think the obvious fandom of our creative team gets them into trouble; they want to make the mega monster (Chet the hybrid) special, and they only bothered with the nerd half of the equation.  (“What can it do?”)  There is no “why,” and what’s worse, there is no soul.  The original monster from Alien was menacing; even vindictive.  The first Queen audiences saw was a calculating menace.  The Predators had brash personalities.  Here, though, the monsters are nothing more than blunt instruments.  The rank and file Aliens are zombies.  Wolf the Predator has no personality; he’s just a boring, straight up assassin.  And for all intents and purposes, Chet’s just some asshole on PCP.  Dull humans are one thing, but dull monsters?  That’s just… well… wrong.

I’d say that it’s unforgivable, but I still find myself reaching for this movie every once in a while.  Yeah, it’s awful.  Yeah, the writing ranges from lazy to practically nonexistent.  (A lot of this flick feels like “wing it” material.)  Yeah, the direction is subpar.  Yeah, the acting’s bad.  Yeah, the lighting sucks.  And yet…

For a stupid gore fest, one could do worse.  And as far as any of the franchises represented here go, I’d rather watch this flick than Aliens.

Bottom line, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is an absolutely awful movie, and it really is “just wrong.”  But for a certain type of audience that finds a certain variety of badness compelling… well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, January, 2014


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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