Almost Human, baby. Think “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a mouthful? Try “super strong, high-pitched honking alien-human hybrids.”
And guess what? These aliens are not heroes in a half-shell. Instead they like to murder, and are not very subtle in the process.
The movie largely centers around a bearded dude named Mark (Josh Ethier), who at some point gets beamed up by aliens, although his initial fate is unknown to his pals, Seth (Graham Skipper) and Jen (Vanessa Leigh). However, years later Mark actually returns with a mission of “body snatching” the human race. It’s not an entirely new story for the sci-fi horror world, but whether or not it’s too derivative is up to the viewer’s individual taste.
In my opinion, it’s at least a little entertaining, and a little good. That’s not the rave of the century, but look at it this way: Given the amount of cinematic detritus out there, a little bit of good can go a long way. It’s not as good as the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), or Body Snatchers (1993), but it’s good enough.
The idea of aliens replacing people is an interesting premise, even if it’s not envisioned that artfully. Almost Human mostly centers around gore, and lets us know that these aliens are built Ford tough (so to speak). They are changed, no doubt about it. They’re also not restrained in their murders. These creatures just hop right to it, like it’s the most natural thing. In the process, Almost Human takes on a Terminator-esque quality.
Image credit: IFC Midnight
Yep, he’s got a saw. Nope, he’s not just going to use it on trees. Yep, you may want to start running.
One disappointing thing? It would have been cool to see more of the non-transformed aliens (maybe it wasn’t in the effects budget?). See, when I think of aliens trying to conquer the world, I tend to want to see them a bit more. Then again, there is a danger to that. Too much alien screen-time might risk making them cheesy. Maybe that was a factor. Still, there’s a nagging sensation about wanting to see more creature in this feature.
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Being a horror flick, Almost Human provides some standard a-hole characters. For example, there’s the guy who calls murders in the news “pretty cool.” Putting aside moral qualms, it’s a bit of a groan-inducing horror cliché. Unfortunately, many people actually are like that. As I watched, I was thinking, “Okay, this guy had better bite the big one.” After all, he was pretty much asking for the ironic fate curtain to drop on his life. In the process of wanting that dude to die, I realized, “Holy shit, maybe I am that dude!” Then I shrugged my proverbial shoulders and went on watching, hoping he’d get iced. (I don’t remember offhand if he did, though — which either means I’m a crappy reviewer or it’s a crappy plot point, or both).
Of course, the aliens themselves seem like mindless a-holes, just stomping about trying to kill and/or conquer every human they can. At times I felt like saying, “Damn, dude, maybe tone it down with the murder stuff a bit?” After all, it’s not very strategic to just kill people all willy-nilly. Most alien movies have aliens who are bad, which has a hint of good ol’ xenophobia attached to it. At the same time, it certainly would be possible that aliens would be hostile. After all, wouldn’t we on average be hostile to them?
“And you sir?” “Yes, I’ll have the hostile alien-human hybrid with milky white sauce…”
In summation: The ending is kind of a dud. Even though it’s 1 hour 20 minutes, about 8 minutes of the run-time is devoted to the end credits. That’s not a huge flaw in itself, but a sign that they didn’t have enough movie.
Like many people, I’d say that Body Snatchers, Fire in the Sky, Slither and Night of the Creeps are better, but Almost Human is still okay. Don’t watch it from a hyper-critical perspective, and don’t expect Marlon Brando-level performances. Most of this movie’s about a bearded alien dude going around killing people. Spoiler alert!