Science fiction and fantasy
Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem
directed by The Brothers Strause
Dallas Howard (Steven Pasquale) arrives in town to look for work and visit his brother, a pizza delivery guy. Dallas is a bit of a lawbreaker. Ricky Howard (Johnny Lewis) has his eye on an attractive young woman called Jesse, even though talking to her means he risks getting beaten up by her possessive boyfriend. These people, slight as their roles may be, are really the most significant human characters in this movie. That's not to say that they have meaty roles, though: Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem is full of minor characters who we meet briefly, only to see them killed off soon after. The unsuspecting residents of this small town are picked off quickly, in what soon becomes a very formulaic film.
The action takes place at night, in the rain. As if that isn't gloomy enough, the town also gets plunged into darkness by a power cut, making everything indistinct. Darkness is sometimes used in movies to make everything seem a little creepier (and also in order to cut costs and disguise cheap effects), but in this movie it simply makes it difficult to work out who is fighting and who has died. Anyone who has seen the other Alien and Predator movies already knows what the creatures look like, so the elements of surprise and of fear of the unknown are gone. Therefore the darkness doesn't add all that much to this movie's atmosphere, and it doesn't enhance the horror.
Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem lacks the suspense of the older Aliens films. Rather than the slow, building fear induced when people are aware they are being stalked by an intelligent and careful hunter, this movie is more frenetic, and more inevitable. When a lot of characters we barely know lose their lives in a slaughter the effect is less moving than watching the tragedy of just one person in great detail. Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem goes for a high headcount, and as a result it's full of unmemorable characters whose passing affects us about as much as the rain passing into the gutters.
One of the things that isn't explained in this film is the way the Alien life-cycle is affected by its chosen host. It takes some of the host's DNA, so that the large version has some of the characteristics of that person or creature. So there's a Predator-Alien in this film, and it looks a little like the Predator. Unfortunately this leads to confusion, since in the darkness the two appear fairly similar.
As soon as the initial scenario is established, Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem is a very predictable movie, right through to its ending. It brings nothing new to the genre, and it's no more than a tired attempt to exploit a franchise that has already grown stale.
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