Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
What's it about
A highly intelligent alien race called the Kulku come to Earth to harvest humans for blood in order to cure them of a disease that is obliterating their species. A worldwide lottery selects 8 million people at random to be sacrificed (800,000 of them from the United States), and the U.S. army enforces the new laws.
Is it good movie?
Now, when you read the words “aliens come to Earth to harvest human blood”, you’re probably picturing shitty CG space monsters devouring people’s heads, such as you would normally expect from a Sci-Fi Channel original movie. I’m happy to say ALIEN SIEGE isn’t that movie again. This one at least aspires to be a thinking-person’s sci-fi film, and despite not even pretending to be original (I was reminded of not only WAR OF TH E WORLDS but THE MATRIX), the initial premise of ALIEN SIEGE is intriguing enough that the screenplay’s failure to explore it more thematically comes as a bit of a disappointment. The movie’s not bad at all, though, which comes as a pleasant surprise.
Brad Johnson plays Dr. David Chase, a scientist who discovers that his daughter Heather (Erin Ross) has been one of those selected for the one lottery you really don’t want to win. Chase tries to evacuate his daughter and evade the military, but Heather is picked up and sent to be liquified into goop by the Kulku, who are rushing to meet their quota of blood-drained humans. Dr. Chase joins with a group of rebels who are devoted to rescuing as many lottery winners as they can. The movie is happy to include as many cliched plot contrivances as possible: Chase has knowledge of a former Kulku crash landing decades ago (Roswell, of course) and winds up wielding a destructive alien ray gun. Also, Heather is kept alive for the time being by the Kulku, who have discovered that her blood may be “special”. That’s a new one.
ALIEN SIEGE boasts better effects than you might expect. They aren’t great, but they’re pretty decent. Mercifully, the filmmakers make the Kulku into what is apparently a humanoid race, so they don’t have to worry about blowing their entire budget on silly alien designs. Although the florescent panels of the Kulku space ship make it seem a bit like something out of STAR TREK, I give the filmmakers a pass for taking the short cut here. The film is shot well by director Robert Stadd and maintains a good pace, and at least for a while seems to be opening up a worthwhile philosophical can of worms as well. The interesting angle of the story comes with the military and government’s involvement in the alien plot. I suppose when the planet is going to be otherwise obliterated, there might not be much of an option, but would you choose to round up the unlucky selectees to be turned into blood capsules for alien consumption, or would you fight back? Carl Weathers shows up (looking... weathered, but providing some solid support) as a General who seems a bit shell-shocked by the situation, pointing out that whenever one of the rebel groups frees a lottery winner, another one is simply chosen to replace them, making their efforts futile.
So there’s some good ideas being volleyed around in ALIEN SIEGE, but after a while the movie just does the typical save-my-daughter-and-save-the-world thing. By the end, we’re definitely in the realm of cheesy low-budget trash that the Sci-Fi Channel generally pumps out. But the road there is reasonably entertaining, features some good moments and keeps you watching.
Video / Audio
Video 1:78:1 Widescreen Presentation
Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, 5.1 Dolby Stereo
Commentary with director Robert Stadd and actors Nathan Anderson, Michael Cory Davis and Lilas Lane A decent listen, with Stadd obviously as intrigued with the story as I was, and talking about some of the ethical dilemmas the characters face in the film. The actors provide background chatter. I didn’t realize the film was shot in Bulgaria. Cutting costs, I guess.
In addition, there’s a boring gallery of Production Stills and a trailer for some wacky Chris Kattan horror-western called UNDEAD OR ALIVE.
ALIEN SIEGE will make for a decent B-movie quickie if you’re hankering for a slightly different alien invasion-type flick. It’s what you might expect from a silly made-for-Sci-Fi movie, just a bit better than average.