ALIEN PARTY CRASHERS (a.k.a. Canaries) ** UK 2017 Dir: Peter Stray 84 mins
Alien abductions have been happening around the world for decades. Teams in America and the UK have been documenting these mysterious disappearances so they can trace them if they ever turn up again. When one of these missing persons is discovered dead after a freak storm many years later they take that to mean that the aliens are finally executing their invasion. For some unknown reason they choose to begin their invasion in the quiet town of Lower Cwmtwrch in Wales on New Years Eve 2015, totally ruining DJ Steve Dennis’ (Craig Russell) already pathetic NYE party. I must admit to enjoying this more then I thought I would. I figured it would be full of immature dick jokes and such like but I was pleasantly surprised that they held back quite a lot. Doesn’t mean it didn’t have its cheesy and awkward moments but they were no where near as excruciating as others that are out there. The acting is pretty solid and the characters are quite diverse and not completely unlikable. Some are actually quite funny; Huw (Steve Meo) the token Welsh local and Ryan (Aled Pugh) one of the gays in the village are both pretty amusing. Whilst the American characters and the main British protagonists deliver some good lines they do so in a bit of an awkward way. On the whole it is nothing new but a fairly solid effort from all involved. It’s low budget hits it hard when it comes to the visuals and FX though. The alien attackers themselves are kind of like zombies. They are the humans that have been abducted but have gone through a kind of transformation that has turned their skin blue and caused them to grow huge claws. The make up is ok but the claws really don’t look great protruding from the gardening gloves they all appear to be wearing plus they are all wearing bright yellow rain coats which isn’t particularly fearsome. Location wise all the UK filming was done in Lower Cwmtwrch, which is a real town in Wales, and the US location was filmed at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts which was one of the locations in JAWS (1975). The soundtrack is really rather good. As it is based in Wales and features a washed up radio DJ it has a mixture of some traditional Welsh music as well as some eclectic main stream local radio schlock including some tracks from the fantastic 80’s inspired synth pop band Le Casette. Canaries is definitely nothing new or original but it tried to be fun and it’s not as bad as you first think it’s going to be.
Review by Sarah Budd