Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Almost Human" is not the most encouraging account of the alien abduction, body-snatcher scenario

I can recall a news story in 1997 about a female jogger disappearing in Wyoming, her tracks just stopping, with nothing else around.  “She went up”.  In fact, my screenplay script for "Titanium" begins with an incident like this.  
Movies about disappearances to alien abductions (like on Aug. 18, 2014) pop up occasionally, sometimes inspired by the old “body snatcher” idea.  But the idea that someone becomes a killer when returned to Earth is not particularly appealing.
But in fact, that is the premise of “Almost Human” (2013, 79 minutes) directed and written by Joe Begos.  The setting is supposed to be around Patten, Maine (to impress Stephen King) but in fact it was filmed in Rhode Island, some of it in the Warwick area where the late filmmaker Gode Davis (the unfinished “American Lynching”) lived.  The film is set in 1987, before cell phones, and is supposed to be based on “true events”. 
As the film opens, nice guy Seth (Graham Skipper) returns home, telling his housemate Mark (Josh Ethier) that a friend riding with him had been taken sick, and when allowed to stop to puke, been taken up in a lightning flash and disappeared.  The power flickers out and on, even though it’s not clear that a big thunderstorm is really happening.  Mark walks outside the house to check the power failure and approaching T-storm, and is himself struck by a blue blot and disappears.
During the film opening credits, the movie shows movie coverage of the two disappearances, and police are actually suspicious of Seth, for no good reason, and detain him briefly.
Worried about his best friend, Seth starts having nightmares and feeling ill at work. His sympathetic boss asks him to take time off, as his job performance is slipping.  Soon, Mark turns up, nude and covered with slime.  He awakens and becomes a violent, crazed killer.  The film progresses to show his sequences of carnage and spree killing.  Whenever someone tries to call the cops (landlines, in the days before cells), he shrieks in high-pitched wails and deafens and paralyzes them. 
Eventually, the other victim does the same thing, and other abductees also come back to life from sacks in a barn (like the pods on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”).  Mark, as well as other abductees, grows a penetrating organ which he can project from his mouth to attack women (it’s pretty graphic).  Eventually Seth outwits him, but the ending will not be happy.  The movie, with a final scene after very long credits, implies that the aliens will be back, of course.

The official Facebook is here

The film is distributed under the brand “IFC Midnight”, as if it were intended for late night horror shows.

I watched it on Netflix Instant Play on a snowy day.  Don't confuse the film with the television series by the same name.  

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