Late at night while channel surfing you’ve got a 50/50 chance of staying on anything for a length of time; it’s got to get your attention as soon as you land on it. Now if I said blood sucking aliens attacking earth??? I’m pretty sure that would grab your attention. These lower tier films can be just as entertaining as anything else with the added element of the complete unknown as absolutely anything can be a part these stories… remember, blood sucking aliens attacking earth. Director Brendon Slagle’s film Attack of the Unknown follows a L.A swat team as they transport a high valued prisoner when suddenly they’re faced with a massive alien invasion.
The film stars Richard Grieco (If Looks Could Kill, 21 Jump Street) as Vernon a member of the swat team leading the prisoner known as Hades, played by character actor Robert LaSardo (The Mule). The film starts off as a solid police drama which I enjoyed because it sets the tone of wtf is happening. Unlike most films of this genre that consist of lower budget cgi effects, Slagle was smart in using minimal effects and that which was seen were for short periods of time that only heightened the fear factor of the unknown, The effects themselves of these massive ships hovering over L.A and destroying it were solid and not at all something that could be deemed low budget. Unfortunately the practical effects of alien makeup and costuming took a different turn. I wished Slagle would have kept to the same thinking as showing the cgi as he did with revealing the aliens where less was more. The slight use of POV shots from the alien perspective were creepier than the actual monster which felt clunky and not remotely as scary as the threat of them.
Surprisingly the acting holds up throughout and that’s mainly due to Grieco and LaSardo. Both are solid in their performance as LaSardo easily falls into the menacing drug lord role while Grieco provides the emotionally attachment the viewer needs to keep them involved. Grieco never felt like he was over doing or “phoning it in” although there are a few cliché movie tropes thrown in. My only complaint were certain story elements that could have been rearranged making for a shorter run time as the film clocks in at 1 hour and 43 minutes. The cast overall fall into generic character types but there are a couple that could have been fleshed out more to give the story a real punch; mainly Jolene Andersen as Hannah and Robert Donavan as Weller who I felt were both underutilized. Suffice it to say, this is a film I don’t think I’d turn off as the story was entertaining enough to keep me watching till the end.
2 out of 5
Film is available now via VOD & Streaming
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