Tuesday, October 7, 2014

#1,513. Altered (2006)

Directed By: Eduardo Sánchez

Starring: Adam Kaufman, Catherine Mangan, Brad William Henke

Tag line: "You know all about hunting trips, don't you?"

Trivia: Was originally planned as a horror/comedy with the title Probed

Directed by Eduardo Sanchez, one of the creative minds behind 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, 2006's Altered is a nifty sci-fi / horror flick about a group of friends seeking revenge on the alien creatures that abducted them 15 years earlier.

Duke (Brad William Henke), Otis (Mike C. Williams) and Cody (Paul McCarthy-Boylington) have just captured an alien. Tossing it into their van, they drive to the home of their old buddy, Wyatt (Adam Kaufman). 

Over a decade ago, all four, along with Cody’s brother Timmy, were on a hunting trip when they were kidnapped by aliens and subjected to a series of tests. Duke, Otis and Cody were released almost immediately, while Wyatt and Timmy remained on-board the spacecraft for hours. The ordeal cost Timmy his life (Wyatt, who was the stronger of the two, was eventually released, stark naked, a few counties away). 

Of course, nobody believed their story, and as a result Cody was imprisoned for several years, accused of killing his own brother. In an effort to put this terrifying, tragic ordeal behind him, Wyatt withdrew from his friends. In fact, before they pulled up in front of his house with the captured alien, he hadn’t seen them in years. 

Now living with his girlfriend (Catherine Mangan), Wyatt had hoped he could forget the past. But thanks to his three former pals, he’s about to face one of the creatures that nearly destroyed his life. As Wyatt will discover over the course of one very intense evening, the aliens are as frightened of him as he is of them. The question is: why?

Altered kicks off with one hell of an opening, following Duke, Otto, and Cody as they track down the alien. Set in the middle of the woods, it’s a terrifically tense sequence. At one point, Duke and the creature are only 10 feet away from one another, each with their foot caught in a bear trap. As the pissed-off extraterrestrial creeps towards him, Duke grasps for his shotgun, which has fallen just out of his reach. 

The action then shifts to Wyatt’s house, which is where 90% of the movie takes place. Yet despite its single location, Altered manages to keep the suspense churning, with the alien doing everything it can to break free (from the start, it’s clear the creature is much stronger, and a whole lot smarter, than his captors). Naturally, chaos ensues the moment the alien manages to sneak away,  It eventually sneaks into Wyatt’s bedroom and gets the jump on one of his pals, resulting in what is easily the film’s most shocking scene.

Along with its solid performances, Altered boasts impressive make-up (one character is bitten on the arm, resulting in a nasty infection that slowly eats away at his body) as well as some stunning creature effects (an interesting take on the “little green men” stereotype, the alien looks more frightening with each passing scene). These elements, coupled with the filmmaker’s no-nonsense approach to the story (there’s hardly any humor at all), make Altered one hell of a thrilling motion picture.

1 comment:

Peter Nielsen said...

I haven't seen this one, but reading your review and hearing you talk about it on the Horror Movie Podcast, has definitely made me interested to check it out!