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INVASION
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Albert Pyun

Starring:
Virginia Dare
Morgan Weisser
Norbert Weisser

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After one of the locals in a small California town called Lawton, discovers a meteor, strange things begin to happen. An officer is then called to investigate the report and finds that it is much worse than he thought. Soon, the whole town faces an alien (possibly) invasion.
Is it good movie?
The DVD box for Invasion claims that it was “Based on Reported Events…”. Now if this has ever happened, I’m sure trailer parks were involved. This is a classic Body Snatchers tale with a little parasite that seems to infect the townsfolk by turning them into some kind of zombie. But unlike any of those other films, it is told from the point of view of a police car. Yes, the entire film is shot from a camera that is supposed to be mounted to the front of a police car. And it takes place on a dirt road in the middle of the woods, actually, several dirt roads. Occasionally, we get to see people getting infected, and a few flashing lights, but mostly, we just see road.

When Deputy Bardo (Scott Paulin) goes to investigate a meteorite that local rancher Larry Jenkins (Alan Abalew) reported, he is attacked by the rancher. After the Deputy is attacked, he heads over to a young couple on lover’s lane. Timmy and Cheryl (Morgan Weisser and Virginia Dare) find themselves being attacked by Bardo himself. Cheryl escapes in the Deputy’s car after she is soon attacked by both him and her former boyfriend. She takes the police car and contacts Deputy Ben (Don Keith Opper) with the radio. She finds herself trying to get out of the park, but the infected (the original title) keeps her trapped. It soon becomes apparent that the entire town is being overrun by this parasite.

Invasion is an interesting experiment. It is a single camera set up, and only shows the viewpoint of the front window in the police car as mentioned earlier. In the beginning, a screen pops up with Deputy Ben, but for about an hour and five minutes, you are looking at a stretch of road with a light shining on the dirt and gravel below and the trees above. Although there is a certain The Blair Witch Project feel, it is nothing like that former piece of Cinéma vérité. It is a simple shot of a road ahead with an occasional human popping up. Being shot this way it makes the dialogue from the actors much more important. In fact, it feels like an old radio show. But the problem is, even with the interesting storyline and some creepy music, I almost felt distracted by the repetitive visuals. It was a fascinating concept with a couple of decent performances, but I just didn’t feel myself involved.

Another problem I had was with many of Cheryl’s choices. She is being chased by these men, yet she drives a few feet ahead and then stops. She then cries and swears, a few times even asking herself, ‘why me?’. It was hard to feel any real sympathy for the character, and oftentimes when she was in the cameras view, it didn’t seem like the on camera actress was even half as upset on the off camera voice. The vocal performance didn’t always match the visual performance. And with the limited imagery used, much of the film felt repetitive and never seemed to get much more creative than the original idea itself. I was impressed with the idea and might have been drawn in a little more had it been a short. But as a feature film, the quirky take on an alien attack felt too dragged out, with several moments that left me wondering how much longer we were going to look at that damn road.
Video / Audio
Video: The 16x9 transfer was actually quite good, especially fitting for this type of film.

Audio: Being that the sound was a key factor on the success of the film, the 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround sounded really clear. For the budget, I was impressed with both the look and sound on this DVD.
The Extras
The extras seemed to have been abducted by aliens. Nothing here except a few Trailers for “Born Killers”, “FearNet.com”, “Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound”, “Skinwalkers”, “Boy Eats Girl”, “Fido” and “Night of the Living De3d 3D”.
Last Call
Invasion is a unique idea which offers up an almost fascinating take on the whole alien attack. But it plods along in a repetitive manner and it’s strength rest on the voice work which carries it only so far. Writer Cynthia Curnan and Director Albert Pyun at least offered up an original way to tell such a familiar story, but when you are looking at nothing but a dirt road, it feels like you may have taken a wrong turn.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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