Friday, April 27, 2012

Aliens vs. Avatars

Aliens vs. Avatars
Lewis Schoenbrun

At this point most people are aware of The Asylum, the production company that rushes out low budget ‘mockbusters,’ films that are close enough in title to a big budget release that someone might confuse the two or at the very least check out the film to sate some of their appetite for the more well-known film.  I’d like to introduce you to Tom Cat Films,a company trying to out-Asylum, Asylum Films by releasing  even cheaper films that bear a striking resemblance to a popular film. Aliens vs. Avatars manages to steal from both the Aliens vs. Predator franchise and ‘Avatar (2009)’ and to be honest I found ‘Aliens vs. Avatars’ a little more entertaining than any of those films.
That may not be saying much.

The film begins promisingly with some pointless nudity and violence, as two girls hiking in the woods see something come crashing down from the sky, they decide the best course of action is to split up and take their tops off.  Within minutes they are killed by an alien whose powers include Photoshopping a hole in someone’s stomach and shapeshifiting.  After some credits I can only describe as adorable, we meet our cast of jerks, losers, whiners and the one girl you’re certain is going to survive. Everyone is going camping, although once they trek out to the campsite no one seems remotely interested in camping, mostly everyone just complains about everything. So, I suppose it is exactly like real-life camping.

Meanwhile in space, a blue woman with pointed ears and an unfortunate twitch sends something down to Earth to deal with the alien. This thing is called a ‘Robotaur’ and sadly it crashes and becomes inoperable.  The space lady or ‘Ava’ creates a human looking avatar to send to Earth to find her missing robot. Kids, Alien and Avatar all meet up; arms are severed, heads accidentally cut off, a foam rubber robot shoots rockets and everything blows up at the end for no conceivable reason.

The first half of the film drags on as you spend time with awful people saying awful things to one another with only brief glimpses of the alien or Ava as the only things to keep you going. Once the film settles in to constant alien attacks and a ridiculous robot battle it’s quite entertaining in a micro budget direct to video kind of way.  It even manages a brief moment of transcendent hilarity when one of the characters accidentally decapitates his girlfriend, while fighting the alien, followed by the worst fake arm severing since, ‘The Happening’ (2008).

The rip-off factor is largely superficial, Ava’s make-up is pretty close to the N’avi from ‘Avatar,’ the alien can turn invisible a la ‘Predator’ (1987). This movie has a lot of problems, but I have to stand up for anything made with such limited means that tries to stretch well beyond what it should be able to do. There’s just something charming and old school in the moments where a rubber suited alien is chasing a girl around in the woods. I’d also like to add that the Robotaur is as cute as a button.

If you truly love the cheapest of movies, or are a big Asylum fan, give it shot. You can probably find it in the discount barrel for a dollar.


  1. Thanks for your kind words regarding my film Aliens vs. Avatars. Yes it was made for very little money ($12,00 if I remember correctly). We tried to do the best we could with a limited budget and resources. Here is a link to my most recent film which was released on DVD last month.

    Lewis Schoenbrun

    1. Your welcome, I've shown it to friends a couple of times now and everyone gets a kick out of it. I saw the Amazing Bulk trailer a few months ago and I'm very curious about it.