Friday, May 25, 2012

Invasion of the Pod People

Invasion of the Pod People
Justin Jones

The Asylum, for those you who don't know or care, is a small movie production company with an interesting model. They create a cheap little film in about two weeks that bears a striking resemblance to an upcoming big budget film. It gets a similar title and is released about the same as its theatrical doppelganger. They have brought us, '666: The Child' (2006), 'Snakes on a Train' (2006), 'Alien vs. Hunter' (2007), 'Transmorphers' (2007), and 'American Warships' (2012). They've gotten a bit of notice for their unique model, including an NPR news article. They are very open and honest about what they are doing and I highly recommend checking out out the blog comments on their website. They give as well as they get when the nasty comments come in. Love or hate them, they have a vision and that vision is making a fast buck off of ignorant consumers and gluttons for bad movies.

'Invasion of the Pod People,' was an attempt to cash in on the 'The Invasion' (2007) starring Nicole Kidman. 'The Invasion' was plagued with problems and re-shoots and was quietly released in August only to bomb. 'Invasion of the Pod People' may have actually had more viewers than its big studio cousin. I’m certain it was more profitable.

The movie opens with a swarm of seeds floating through space as they approach Earth. We meet our heroine Melissa (Erica Roby) having sex against a window as the seeds plummet to Earth. After this none too subtle metaphor we end up at Melissa's job as a secretary for a modeling agency. Everyone there looks coked out and uninterested in what's going on, so points for realism.  Melissa’s day is filled with annoying co-workers, annoying boss and annoying potential clients. One client gives Melissa’s boss Taylor (Shaley Scott), a small potted plant. The plant is without a doubt ‘The Evil Pod’, but it's not a pod at all. It is in fact a terrifying ginger root.

(Ginger root is good for nausea, and you just might need it to get through the rest of the movie.)

Taylor takes the "pod" home and in the middle of watering it, the "pod" decides to disappear. She seems to conclude there is nothing wrong with this and goes about her business. Later she is confronted with her slimy pod clone who even sports the same eyeliner.

Pod Taylor calls Melissa into her office and is uncharacteristically nice to her, perhaps a little too nice. They go out for drinks and the producers of 'Invasion of the Pod People' hit on the one ingredient missing from all the Invasion of the Body Snatchers movies: a lesbian sex scene. Although it's obviously there to just pad out the film for a solid eight slow-motion filled minutes.

All the cunnilingus was apparently a clever ploy to give Melissa a pod, which I have to admit sounds pretty effective. Melissa takes it home and in a rare moment of intelligence, she shoves it in the garbage disposal where it screams and squirts blood everywhere.  I think you kind of know where all this is going at this point.

'Invasion of the Pod People' takes every evil duplicate movie cliche and weakly throws is on screen. To its credit, the few special effects in the film are good looking and it is shot decently. There are also some lovely continuity gaffs, such as pod people wearing makeup right out of the pod and car interiors where the left and right shots don't even kind of match each other.

Most of the performances are at best flat and there are a  few people who confuse yelling with acting. It is pretty evident there is about thirty minutes of actual story in this eighty-five minute movie. The producers decided to pad the film out with some sex scenes and a few pointless moments that neither develop character nor plot. Things aren’t helped by a dopey script where characters are oblivious to dead bodies or disappearing plants that were sitting in front of them literally three seconds earlier.

Compared to 99% of other direct to video movies, it’s pretty limp.  Compared to most Asylum productions it's watchable and doesn't include a shark which puts it ahead of the majority of their output.

1 comment:

  1. Must put in on the "to watch with ginger" list! ;)