It’s Saturday night, or whenever I fire up the DVR, and it’s time to watch me some Sci-Fi Chanel original action. This always makes me happy. I can’t tell you why, but it does or else we wouldn’t watch these movies which are usually awful. For this week’s Sci-Fi original RHI entertainment has made a triumphant return after giving way to After Dark and The Asylum for a little while. Remember RHI has given us such classics as ‘Hellhounds’, ‘Rise of the Gargoyles’ ‘Blood Monkey’ and ‘Behemoth’ just to name a few of their classic joints. The loyalty I show this company… but do they return the favor giving me free movies to watch or offering me a job? No they do not, but we will not hold it against them since nobody does this for me. But nonetheless what we have is a lethal combination of RHI + Sci-Fi = Pretty Decent? No freaking way…
Shamed Marine Colonel Sam Synn (Joe Flannigan) is simply winding down the days in a drunken stupor as a security guard at the National Science Federation or something when he is summoned to show asshole U.S. Senator Jackson Crenshaw (John Rhys Davies) and his crew to one of the facilities where an amazing experiment is about to take place. Recognize that Mr. Rhys-Davies has affected the worst southern accent since we’ve heard since Marina Sirtis, also playing a Southern U.S. Senator, do this same thing in the Sci-Fi original ‘Annihilation Earth’. Someone needs to let these British actors know that this is not what American Southerners sound like. The good thing about Mr. Rhys-Davies in this movie is he will soon be Samuel L. Jacksoned in this flick and we won’t have to worry about that accent no more.
Anyway, cold physicist Dr. Jillian O’Hara (Dagmar Doring) and her nervous assistant Bryan (Robert Soohan) are demonstrating their amazing new cold fusion technology. I know, Cold Fusion yet again. Even the senator with the bad accent echoed my disdain. But this cold fusion is a little different because this cold fusion allows us to peer into the many alternate realities that sit on top of our own. What this has to do with anything, like cheap clean unlimited power, beats the hell out of me, but it is still Amazing! Well, Damn if something doesn’t go wrong. Damn if there isn’t a wave of
energy that knocks everybody in the room out cold, killing a large number of them. Col. Synn wakes up first and sees some creature eat some dudes arm, then his right hand man Lt. Rivers The Black Guy (Yare Michael Jegbufume) wakes up next to help him seek out this creature. Eventually whoever isn’t dead wakes up, like the Senator and his top assistant Dr. Fast (Catherine Walker), and the senator just wants out. He walks out. He is Samuel L. Jacksoned by a strange creature, and now we know that we ain’t in D.C. anymore.
Apparently the good doctor’s device has sent us to an alternate universe with a fauna similar to our own, but with a different evolutionary track. For real. This reality has strange creatures… or actually just one creature… budget, you know… but it is a mean one. Our survivors are really up against it, especially considering that Dr. Fast feels the need to ‘explore her surroundings’. Idiot. There’s about a dozen or so survivors that need Dr. O’Hara’s device to be repaired to take them back home. But don’t worry because a lot of those seats on this return trip will be vacant. Don’t poke the alien and don’t steal the alien’s egg. Don’t do it. We were actually liking the chances of Lt. Rivers The Black Guy surviving this movie… until he made the fatal mistake of liplocking with Dr. O’Hara. He’s not gonna make it.
We know how this works. It’s a leased Sci-Fi channel original which means that our filmmakers are given a limited budget, as is clear here with the limited locations, with most of this movie being filmed in the local woods, and featuring one lone monster. Stargate’s Joe Flannigan is our biggest star, unless you count John Rhys-Davies glorified cameo. But director Billy O’Brien seems to know how work within these limitations and I think the man has squeezed about as much entertainment value that can be extracted out of a movie with these debilitating limitations. At least I enjoyed what the man was able to do.
For instance, we’ve seen movies where the characters talked fancy fake science talk but this movie eschewed that and had its super duper smart people write equations at one another. I’ve never seen that before. Sure the movie mostly consisted of people walking in the wood running from nothing, but the scenes featuring these actor’s running from nothing were well conceived, well shot and well executed. The actors in this piece were more than competent, the movie infused a touch of humor amidst the monster goring mayhem, the science supporting our little movie was suspect but it’s not like they spent a lot of time on it since our crew is transported to the Ferocious Planet like ten minutes in. You see it’s all good.
Mostly good. Character development is almost completely absent, as if that actually matters in a movie like this, I probably wouldn’t have minded seeing more than one of these lone designed monsters on screen at the same time, maybe have them battle One Million Years BC style, and if the movie had actually ended… I would’ve been really happy. I think what little money the filmmakers had must’ve run out of because the actual final scene was a bit underwhelming. It always helps the audience in a movie, with a movie being largely a visual exercise, to see what the actors are seeing as opposed to watching the actor react to something amazing. That’s just been my experience.
Oh well, you can’t have everything. Every Saturday I start these movies with a smile on my face for unknown reasons, and most times that smiled is ripped away by the time this movie ends. This time was different and for that we are thankful.