Co-written and co-directed by Joe Castro, Thomas J. Churchill, and Steven J. Escobar.
Starring Kristen Renton, Manu Intiraymi, Brinke Stevens, and Rachel Sterling.
Six complete strangers recall the details of their individual experiences with alien forces-sharing the terrifying stories of their abductions and possessions.
On the eve of its release date, we were given the screener for Xenophobia, an anthology-style sci-fi horror flick that would show the varying, interconnected stories of different characters and their association to an impending alien invasion on earth.
Always being down for an indie horror project, I quickly started the film and prepared myself for some extraterrestrial action. Unfortunately, what I was subjected to was utterly disappointing.
Following a quick but unexplained alien abduction scene, we follow the survivor into a group meeting where other victims of space visitors have gathered to share their stories of grief and survival. Three of the group members (one who arrives later in the story) be in to share the detailed stories of their close encounters, with each presenting their own varying forms of aliens and their respected, abilities, plot twists and more.
Typically, being a fan of anthology films, I always expect the shorts to progressively get better and better as time goes on, but with Xenophobia, all we are offered as viewers are several jumbled up messes. From the group meeting through the shorts, there are three consistencies that play throughout.
Writing: When your film doesn't make sense, it's typically due to the story not being properly fleshed out. This does happen from time to time in most films but mixed in with the ridiculous dialogue, it can easily take you out of the film in an instant. This also causes an inability to keep the continuity they're trying to build. For example, a line is spoken stating something of importance when mere moments later, a new line of dialogue essentially changes what was said in the first place with no action to back up said change.
Acting: I'm not going to throw out a blanket statement claiming that everyone was bad because that would be wrong. There were a few select actors who sounded confident in what they were saying, while most others, although with fairly decent filmographies, were not able to perform, had no timing, seemed lost or perhaps uninterested in the roles they were portraying.
CGI: Don't worry, there is something positive within this whole bundle of film, but I have to quickly mention the terrible computer effects as they were way too overused throughout the presentation. I'm fine with the use of said technology when it's required, but covering up perfectly good practical effects with a "vibrating wave", the same wave that is overused for multiple other scenes, quickly becoming annoying and, in all honesty, becomes hard on the eyes after a while.
Now, as I mentioned, the practical effects were definitely the saving grace here. A handful of different space invaders, all with their own unique looks, abilities and sound effects to boot. As an avid fan of these types of effects, I feel like it would have been beneficial to take further advantage of these creatures in order to make the visual aspects a little more appealing.
I understand that sometimes the money isn't always good enough to portray a specific vision on screen or that the required talent isn't interested in working on a screenplay of this caliber, but watching this can easily give inspiration to up and coming writers and directors to create something that could potentially surpass this.
As Rob Zombie once said during an interview while speaking about other bands " These guys suck, we can easily suck as much as they do."
Xenophobia can easily push the required inspiration for people who need that extra boost of motivation for their own future projects.
And at the very least, you're going to get a few good laughs from an "It's so bad it's good" aspect of things. Remember kids, there's always something worthwhile in any film you see. You just need to find and focus on the positive aspects and it'll help you appreciate something that much more!
Xenophobia is now available on DVD and VOD for your viewing pleasure.
Xenophobia will be available to buy on DVD for $12.99 and on digital for an SRP of $4.99 - $9.99 from platforms including iTunes, Vudu, Playstation, Google Play, Xbox, and FandangoNow, as well as cable affiliates everywhere on August 6, 2019.
2.5 OUT OF 10
Have you listened to our HORROR Podcast? This week on Beyond The Void Horror Podcast. We watched two Alien Horror movies from recent years. Welcome To Willits (2016) and a found footage film Phoenix Forgotten (2017). We give our reviews, talk trivia and pick our favorite scenes. Check it out! Listen/Subscribe on iTunes here!