I can't say I completely share the overwhelmingly high regard reflected in most of the reviews around here. Perhaps it's because so many of them come from one-review-wonders, a fact which readers can directly verify themselves. Such blatant manipulation never happens on its own but is invariably the result of people directly involved with the movie under review trying to avail themselves of an opportunity to put their thumb on the scales. This sort of underhandedness always results in a few lost points from me.
But, such slimy sneakiness aside, CANARIES (a.k.a. ALIEN PARTY CRASHERS) does have a certain roguish je ne sais quoi. It's difficult to give a completely defensible score on this movie because CANARIES is one of those comedies where it can be difficult to distinguish between common poor workmanship and deliberate camp made as a choice. Hopefully, as I remove points here and there for what I perceive as various cinematographic faux pas's, I don't mistake one for the other. In either direction.
The "plot line" of CANARIES involves space aliens in giant spaceships visiting Earth on a regular basis. Apparently there is an agreement between the United States and said aliens for the United States to not interfere with what the aliens are doing as long as the aliens don't do it on American soil. In return, the aliens get to run experiments on the populations of every other country unopposed.
Evidently, as near as I can make out (from a somewhat convoluted plot which you will see if you watch CANARIES yourself), what the aliens are attempting to do is to create hordes of alienhuman hybrids and drop them on the unsuspecting local populations on earth in torrential downpours (of something that isn't water but is otherwise unspecified) released from their giant spaceships floating in the clouds. In the movie we watch events play out in Wales, United Kingdom in the small community of Lower Cwmtwrch (Cwm Twrch Isaf). (As an interesting aside, Lower Cwmtwrch has a local connection to the legend of King Arthur.)
The hybrids, looking like Gorton's of Gloucester (a Japanese company of all things, by the by) fishermen with whitesilver eyes and bearing 10 inch claws on the ends of their fingers, attack and kill any humans they happen to find as they wander the countryside in their Day-Glo yellow raincoats.
Yes, that IS the plot.
I rate movies on a relativistic scale; is it the movie it was intended to be and does it compare favorably to other movies of its ilk. That is if, um, you can actually find other similar movies or if it even HAS an ilk... For this reason I have given CANARIES only a fair-to-middling rating because there were some elements about it where it's presentation was questionable in ways that looked (subjectively) more a result of amateurish workmanship than humor.
In CANARIES, there are no actual aliens as such. All we actually get are humans in pasty makeup and white contact lenses wearing Lee Press on Nails on steroids. Shoestring budget or not, this is ALWAYS a hallmark of low quality workmanship and a missed opportunity to display some creativity.
The camera work is generally good, but CANARIES does rely far too heavily on floaty cam technique. The floaty cam work often happens for no identifiable reason where actors are just standing around jawing which screams out for properly cut fixed camera work. Having entire scenes floating vaguely about on screen as if they're being shot on a schooner in a high gale is just lazy. And often coupled with the inappropriate floaty cam shots are unjustifiable close-ups where you can count the actor's nose hairs. This is always a tell for directors of photography who don't know what they're doing. If you're gonna get that close up on people's faces there needs to be an actual reason for it, especially if you're going to couple it with floaty cam work where the actor's faces swim around on the screen like a child's balloon in the wind.
On the good side, the graphics of the spaceships were pretty good; even though such special-effects are cheap and easy to produce nowadays, they still present an inexpensive way to elevate the perceived quality of a movie without breaking the budget. Along these lines, there is a scene where nighttime fireworks inadvertently light up a giant spaceship that's hiding in the clouds and resulting in a very effective CG scene.
Lastly, almost all of the actors acquitted themselves satisfactorily, at least in quality relative to the overall quality of CANARIES itself. There were no standout wooden actors as far as I could see.
All in all, I hope that CANARIES is a commercial success because the movie promises a sequel in the credits and I'd be willing to bet the makers of CANARIES would be able to make a pretty good sequel with what they learned from CANARIES..
Review by S_Soma from the Internet Movie Database.