Friday, December 14, 2018

Predator World

Predator World (aka Aliens vs. Titanic)
Jeff Leroy

After Aliens vs. Avatars (2011) won my heart (just a little) over for its sheer cheap audacity, I saw the poster for Aliens vs. Titanic which was similar and hinted at some kind of follow-up. I am all for an entire cinematic universe of ultra-low-budget James Cameron rip-offs, but the film took a long time to finally appear, probably due to its title causing some legal issues. Aliens vs. Titanic transformed into Predator World, in an attempt to cash-in on the release of The Predator (2017). Was it worth the wait?


No, it was not.

I defy you to care about any one of these characters.
Predator World exists in the liminal space between The Asylum mockbusters and Troma’s trashier output. The film banks on a familiar premise with a crashed spaceship, slimy aliens that like to burrow into human bodies and then burst out later. The title and poster art make it look like it is going to be a serious film in the vein of The Predator, but any seriousness is tossed aside in the opening moments as a toy spaceship lands on a human butt and then the credits play out as a toy truck travels up and down a woman’s naked body. From there on the movie is an out and out T&A sex comedy with a side of cheap gore and rubber monster suits.

The tragedy of Predator World is that it almost works as an anything goes dopey splatter comedy. There are few genuine laughs here and there, along with a hint of the DIY spirit that director Jeff Leroy brought to Creepies (2004). It seems shockingly rare anymore to get a film with aliens crawling out from under nipples like they were manhole covers or a monster with a boner stinger, and there is definitely some creativity at play here the raises it above any budget concerns. The downfall comes via characters that quickly go from, ‘So annoying I can’t wait to see them die’ to ‘So annoying this is ruining the movie.’ Add to that a third act turn into more serious territory which the film isn’t nimble enough to pull off, and the whole venture grinds to a halt.

Still better than Alien Covenant.
Predator World tries to take a page from The Thing (1982) and start questioning which characters are who they say they are and who are actually aliens in disguise. This might have worked but a) the movie actively discourages you from caring about any of these characters beyond wondering what gruesome fate awaits them and b) there appear to be no rules about who and how anyone becomes infected by the aliens so there is no fun in trying to guess anyway. It’s all a big miscalculation.

For about forty minutes, Predator World is enjoyably stupid before the whole thing collapses under its own weight. Still, I have to give credit to Jeff Leroy for really pushing his strange visual aesthetic and for actress Jin N. Tonic for being virtually nude the entire second half of the film.  Aliens vs. Titanic… excuse me, I mean Predator World is complete trash but mostly not in a good way.

No one knows who they were or what they were doing.
But their legacy remains.
Hewn into the living rock of Stonehenge.

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