Altered DVD Review

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Before you do anything, including reading the rest of this entry, rent ALTERED. Do not read the plot synopsis, watch a trailer or Google/IMDB it. The more you read this entry, the more I’ll reveal about it. It’s from the director of the Blair Witch Project, which already is probably making folks like Bake angry, but as a fan of that film, that was a hook for me. And it’s not so much like there’s a Sixth Sense-type ending that turns everything on its head, not at all; I just wonder how much more fun this film would have been if I didn’t know what it was about.

This movie totally caught me offguard. For minor plot spoilers, click it.

So the basic premise of this tale is a bunch of guys abduct an alien… and this isn’t friendly at all like E.T. I was sold on that premise alone, and the more I learned about the film before seeing it, the more I was interested. The plot thickens a bit in that these guys were abducted by aliens themselves as kids, and years later, they’re seeking revenge and finally kidnap one of the buggers. Of course, all things go to shit, but what impressed me the most is that Altered is one clever movie. While I’d have done a few things differently, I’d be proud to have it on my resume. It’s well made, there’s some good twists and turns without a terrible amount of screaming at the television because characters do dumb things, and surprisingly enough for a movie by a Blair Witch dude, the acting is pretty good. The lead is especially good, pulling off a hero role along with a tortured past kinda spin.

Of course Altered would totally suck if, say, the alien itself was just wearing a discount Halloween store mask, and I was pretty impressed with the FX work here. Unlike Signs, which I also love (see a pattern), you get some real quality shots of the critter before the 10 last minutes of the movie. The alien design itself is familiar, but slightly varied (more X-COM than Independence Day) and is above the caliber of most straight to DVD releases. What I liked even more, though I’d love a sequel or follow-up about this, is the physiology and rationale behind the aliens themselves. We get glimpses as to why they may be on Earth, what they’re up to, what they’re capable of… but you know me, I want more. I want specifics, I want the master plan all spelled out. I never get that, and I’m left making up scenarios, but really it’s not the movie’s fault it doesn’t reveal these secrets. They’re not meant to be told for this type of story.

Long story short: Rent this flick ASAP, especially you Burnt. While they do considerably more than “4 guys locked in a garage with an alien,” if you look at what they pulled off for most of the movie, it’s no different than what you could be doing right now, with some focus. Now hop to.. I want me some Sparrow!