Title: Altered
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror
Starring: Misty Rosas, Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Adam Kaufman
Director: Eduardo Sánchez

The last time this director tried to do something intelligent he made the hugely successful Blair Witch Project. I say successful meaning it in purely financial terms; despite a tiny budget he managed to make one of the worst horrors of the decade and still rake in enough money to retire. Except, it turns out he isn't entirely done with the genre, and this direct-to-DVD release sees his return and from the beginning, I must confess it sounded promising. There is to be no more of this 'hand held camera' crap that plagued the last, and rather than shoot for psychological scares (blindfolded on a roundabout, wildly throwing darts and hoping not to hit the camera man this time) he goes for something that's rather more difficult to get wrong: simple B-Movie gory fun. Except rather impressively, he still succeeds in getting it wrong.

The plot revolves around a group of friends brought together years ago by their dearly passed away friend Timmy, who is the reason these band of brothers troop on to avenge his death at the hands of aliens. After many years and even more self confessed nights of getting wasted, these rednecks finally capture one of the bastards responsible for his death, and after punching it a few times drag his limp body back to the home of Wyatt, the only man to have been captured by these aliens and survived. Except he isn't exactly pleased; hiding from them for all these years and his story never believed, he has remained on the fringes of his hillbilly town and with the alien's return, he knows that soon there may be more, for these aliens are able to communicate via morse code using tapping claws in their guts...

Apparently, this film was originally intended to be a horror/comedy. They should have kept it this way because for a plot so silly, it manages to take itself incredibly seriously. For all its unusual ideas, it never seems to do anything after the first couple of minutes. Of course things actually do happen but it never seems important, partly due to the fact that most of the film is spent shouting at one another, each character given all the time in the world for irrelevant swearing right before anything of any actual significance occurs, and it isn't helped by the fact that every 'significant' detail feels like its been done beforehand in the film, as though its aimlessly going around in circles.

The soundtrack rarely kicks in to do anything to enhance the atmosphere and the few occasions when it does fire up, it never seems to quite fit the scene properly, giving a 'close but no cigar' feel which would have disrupted the build up in tension if there ever was any. They show us a good look at the alien creature far too early in the film to really create any build-up as the film progresses, and for the budget it looked like a well designed creature concept from the 60s, except in colour. Its only real saving grace are the few occasions where the gore really does kick in; a tug of war between the beast for a man's small intestine, or the walking corpse slapping our lead Wyatt around the face and breaking his arms exemplifying that fact. No, it wasn't quite as sleep-inducing as his last film, but it's still pretty awful.


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