To put it briefly, watch the The Alienators. Laugh out loud, cringe at its creepiness, bask in the nostalgic charm of passion fueled indie filmmaking, and mostly just enjoy a superbly crafted narrative. I've never seen anything like The Alienators before, but if I had to draw comparisons I'd say it's like watching an 'R' rated film from absurd comedy genius, Steve Oedekerk ("Thumb Wars"), combined with the masterful execution of the mockumentary genre achieved in Rob Reiner's "This is Spinal Tap". The Alienators is a comedy at its core, and like all great comedies, in addition to laughs throughout, there are still some incredibly authentic moments that had me empathizing for all the crazy people in the world who hark on aliens all day, but who are actually experiencing horrendously profound physical, mental and emotional trauma.
The Alienators is a complete film, successfully executed on all fronts. It's an indie gold mine. The acting for instance. I adore the incredibly vulgar character, Vic Singe, flawlessly portrayed by star, Derek Reckley. Singe is the guy you love to hate for his obscenity, and hate that you love for his authenticity. If you're familiar with the lecherous character, Ira, from J. M. DeMatteis' comic "Moonshadow" then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Singe's no fcks given personality is perfectly contrasted by his straight-laced, starry-eyed, investigator trainee, Skot Wimby, immaculately played by co-star Aaron Leddick. I just have to take a moment to appreciate the names of these characters. Can't you just see a guy named Skot Wimby and Vic Van Singe? Their physiques and personalities in the film are exactly as their names suggest. We have Skot's stalwart devotion to the CDU (Civilian Department of Ufology) to thank for all the excellent footage documenting his and Singe's investigation of the extra terrestrial activity bombarding the sanity of the tortured soul, Jessa Gwilliams, starring Alycia Tracy who completes the trifecta of exalted casting choices. The interaction mechanics of Skot, Singe, and Jessa are explosive, over the top, and downright entertaining to behold. Only a character as desperate and resilient as Jessa could possibly managed to woo Singe's black heart.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 1st person POV night shots and was constantly terrified that the aliens might pop out at any moment. The creepy found footage cinematography is appropriately accented by digital interference, and it's like watching one of those hokey shock magazines with blurry UFO pictures brought to life. The sound design is on point too, as well as the editing. I'm telling you this film was meticulously crafted from the bottom up. The writing though is KING, as it should be in all films if you ask me. Writer, director, producer, editor, vfx artist, and sound editor, Christopher Farley is both a gifted comedic and suspense writer. Every scene arcs wonderfully as the characters grow. The over the top tone is established from the get go and remains consistent throughout, which is so refreshing to see because I hate when films have these jarring tonal shifts from comedy to drama and it doesn't work. Not the case here. I personally found the absurd comedy to be hilarious and laughed out loud on several occasions. Makes me want to go watch all of Farley's previous work.
You know a film is good when you can remember most of the scenes and there are several that stick out in my mind. SPOILER ALERT! Finish reading this review once you've watched "The Alienators". Here are my favorite scenes: (1) When the alien enters Skot's room and he hides under the blankets and you can see the alien through the sheets, horrifying! (2) The VFX sequence analyzing the appearance of the UFO over Skyforest and the realistic police banter. (3) When Singe wakes up and records his drunken pursuit of the aliens with the camera Skot lent him and manages to get abducted. I can't get over the hilarity of Singe's constant farting, burping, swearing, smoking, air guitaring, and hairy torso. Why is he so dang appealing?! I could only ever love a character like Singe in a story, we'd never get along in real life. (4) The shots of Skot giving testimony at night in his room in front of the screen windows with darkness behind him made me cringe every time. I thought for sure something was going pop out at any moment and get him. And what impresses me even more is that even when the scary and tense action happened, Farley always found a way to insert wonderful humor to cap off the scenes like Singe farting or something. I'm sorry but toilet humor just is such a potent form of comedy when used properly and this film further proves that comedy and horror are very similar mechanically, like I heard Jordan Peele comment on his film, "Get Out".
Some honorable mentions I really enjoyed are the setup with the elephant picture at the beginning and subsequent payoff near the end, the original artwork provided by Anastasia Leddick which is gorgeous, the fantastic supporting roles of the shrink and director of the CDU played by Erika T. Johnson and Don Moss, who both nailed it. The ufologist handbook is great and I want to know how much of it is real or fabricated for the film. Really I mean "The Alienators" was just a joy to watch and so odd and quirky that it's landed a well-earned place as my new favorite indie film. My only hope is that special effects will stand the test of time for future viewings. Fortunately the effects serve the purpose of telling the story so I think my suspension of disbelief will let the occasional cheesy visuals slide years from now.
Review by Sam Vest from the Internet Movie Database.