Lately I have been going on a alien conspiracy movie binge and one of the films that I came across was a somewhat acclaimed film called Altered, directed by Eduardo Sanchez of Blair Witch. The story is relatively simple: a group of people, who have been previously abducted by aliens, band together in a small home to fend themselves off against a violent alien they found in the woods. I have to admit, I kind of expected a little more from this film but I’ve come to enjoy it… still, I think it could have been a lot better.
There are a number of things that I enjoyed about this movie and one of them is that the creature design and the gore is all practical; of course because this is an indie movie. The alien design is quite creepy and it’s a new take on the typical oval-headed little green men that we are so used to seeing. It was nice to see an actual physical alien and not something that has been done on a computer. The gore is fantastic and there are a few painful surgery scenes, and one hell of a scene that involves a guy’s intestines being pulled out of him. By far, the best makeup had to have been the alteration of the character Cody; which his skin peeling off, tumors growing and veins popping out of his skin.
However, with every up there has to be a downside. The biggest downside to this film was that it didn’t really have a tense or mysterious atmosphere. Everything is very well lit so there isn’t anything lurking in the shadows. Mainly, I didn’t like that they showed what the alien looked like because had they kept it in the shadows or showed bits and pieces of it… it would have been much scarier.
Aside from that, the rest of the movie isn’t bad. I didn’t like any of the characters except Cody because had a more definitive character arc, whereas the rest of them were either stale or unlikeable. I think out of everything, the beginning scene in the forest is the best because it leaves things to the imagination and it keeps the audience in suspense. I enjoyed that there was a bit of a back-story to these people and that they didn’t really show what happened to them when they were a little younger, as an audience we can interpret what happened either way.
I feel as though this movie is like a b-movie, a b-Sci-Fi movie for that matter but I don’t think it’s intentional. I think Eduardo wanted to make a serious movie but got a film that had some really hammy acting and no atmosphere. Curiously, I enjoyed watching it… I won’t watch it again but I didn’t completely hate it. I just really wished that there were more to the film but yet less of the actual creature if that makes any sense. I don’t think Sanchez will ever make a film like Blair Witch Project but compared to Seventh Moon, this movie isn’t bad. If you have some time to kill, give this a watch.