Sunday, 14 December 2014

Holiday Horror: The Blackout (2009)

The Blackout (2009)
Director: Robert David Sanders
Starring: Barbara Streifel Sanders, Joseph Dunn, and Ian Malcolm
Running Time: 80 min

 I haven't seen too many alien holiday horrors out yet but I know there is a few, so I thought I'd give this a shot.  I don't really recognize anyone in this, but I dig low-budget stuff and you never know right? right?

  It's Christmas eve and some couples in the Ravenwood apartments is dealing with some emotional bullshit.  For instance, Daniel and Elizabeth just want to have a nice Christmas with their kids but Daniel's drunk brother is crashing on their couch.  Also, Ethan and Claire are going through a divorce but they don't know if they want to be together but she sure as hell isn't letting him get it on with one of the downstairs neighbors, who happens to be having a Christmas party, that they are going to.
  On top of that there has been some power outages and cell phone service disruption that is making everyone cranky.  Before Elizabeth goes to the neighbours' party, her kids catch her and their dad making out.  So, she sends her son to go to the dark deserted basement of the building and get a big present that they left down there.  When he gets down to the basement, there is another power failure and he notices these bizarre creatures scurrying around the floor.  He hears something and discovers a monster in the basement, then tries to run to the elevator but the lift doesn't come in time and he is presumably eaten by the monster.
 Some time passes and Daniel and his daughter head downstairs to find his son but on the way into the elevator, Daniel is distracted by a noise. "Mittens"? This distraction leads to his daughter going down to the basement alone and searching for her brother alone in the dark dank basement.  Apparently, Daniel has never heard of the stairs and screams at the elevator to bring his daughter back. Damn you elevator! If there was only another way to get to the basement!
 Meanwhile at the party, which happens to be next door to Daniel and Elizabeth, almost everyone has left because of the power failure except for a few stragglers, including Ethan and Claire.  They hear a strange noise and the slutty hostess goes to investigate and gets kabobed by a giant tentacle.  Instead of everyone running down the stairs to get out of the building, they all go next door to Daniel and Elizabeth's apartment, you know where it is safe.  They all then come up with a plan that they should leave the building because there is a monster or monsters inside the building somewhere.  Can this group of people escape from these extraterrestrial monsters and save Daniel's daughter or will this be the worst Christmas ever for them and maybe mankind?

  This wasn't that great and I can understand why it got such a low rating on IMDB.  These people don't know how to leave a building.  There are only 4 stories in this building and the stairwells were clear, so outside of Daniel, Elizabeth and there alcoholic brother, who need to find their kids, everybody should have been able to get out a lot faster.  Even when they discovered that the lobby door was blocked, they came up with one of the most convoluted plans ever when there were so many simpler options.  It was quite ridiculous, I'm just glad it was only 80 minutes. 
  Also, the characters in this are inane and none of them follow any logical pattern.  The alcoholic is sober and has no desire to drink through this ordeal, the divorcing couple are in love and the agoraphobic seem to have no issues with being out and about with this crowd of people.  At least the agoraphobic was "taking medication" in some of his scenes but still, these people have back stories that the film has introduced, so make them matter and use them to cause real conflict in the story or don't introduce them at all. 
 One last thing, where are all the other people who live in the building?  It's at least a four floors in the building, where is everybody else.  It should be freaking mayhem in the halls and screams of terror but it's not and that makes the story seem unbelievable.

  However, I think that the alien monster creature thing wasn't to bad.  I like it's Alienesque look infuse with the scorpion tail.  Also, I could tell that director Robert David Sanders (The Blackout) was trying to get an "Alien" feel to the film.  He was at least trying to get some shots of the creature face to face with it's intended victims and dribbling ooze on them but it didn't have the same effect most times but the effort was there.
  Also there a few good death scenes in this and I'm surprised that they killed one of the kids off first.  That, honestly, is a ballsy move but I'm glad they did because most times kids in horror movies can be annoying as hell but you know that they won't be knocked off because of the "innocent" factor.  So well played.  All the blood and gore however are CGI created, which is annoying but I'm guessing it was the cheapest way to go.

 This isn't completely awful but it isn't great either.  This is one of those films you find in the WalMart bin on a DVD with three other films for $2.99.  The story isn't very good, the characters aren't defined and unrealistic and the best part, which is the monster, is CGI with CGI blood.  Also, the reveal at the end, is not that big of a surprise.  So, if your looking for a cheesy sci-fi horror flick that doesn't really deliver, then this may be what Santa will have left in your stocking.

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