Friday, December 21, 2012

SyFy Monster Movie Week: Terminal Invasion


Back again boys and girls and say you know what we haven’t had in a while?  A cheesy alien based SyFy film.  Yeah I think we need to delve into that because it has been too long.  So hop in that easy chair, sample some movie candy and try to wince less.  This is Terminal Invasion.

Spoilers can be out of towners…waaaay out of towners.

It was a dark and stormy night; and director/producer Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th, A Stranger is Watching, Deep Star Six Spring Break and The New Kids) brings us a story of two yokel state troopers are delivering a baddie to the gas chamber for he was a bad boy.  Low and behold the snow storm gets to blizzard conditions and our hapless driver and passenger ride off the road and into a tree.  Without radio signals going through our intrepid trio must hoof it to a nearby airport to reassess the situation and tend to their soon-to-be executed companion. 

Officers Red (Scott Wickware of The Santa Clause, The Tuxedo, Land of the Dead and Snow Cake) and Tommy (Jake Simons of Driven, Adam & Eve, Godsend and Sacrifice) are weary and wary of convict Jack (Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead, Bubba Hotep, Spiderman, My Name is Bruce and Burn Notice) who is crafty enough to attempt an escape under their watch.  Add a crowded rural charter airport with ice on the runways and potential hostages and well you can see the risks ensue.  Airport owner/pilot Cathy Garrett (Chase Masterson of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Manticore, Creature Unknown, General Hospital and Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles) raises concern on the harden criminal but Officer Red assures the little lady that everything is in hand.   As a preacher exits from the bathroom stall the fireworks begin as Jack deduces the preacher is not what he claims to be and he bats the cops around like a tennis ball.   Free from his cuffs Jack pummels the preacher of superhuman strength with a fire extinguisher.   As Jack collects his thoughts the preacher melts and dissolves.  Yes, self-disposing monster and leaves with the fresh scent of pine.    With passengers and workers of the airport all in panic, Jack must still work away to get out of the area.  But who is who?   The premise feels like The Thing if it was filmed in a dinky charter flight airport.  

Now given the main location in question this is mostly steady cam and hand held, everyone is professionally lit, miked and good to go.   So where the problem could lie in wait?   The script was brought to us by writer Lewis Abernathy (Deep Star Six).  Yes that is two scripts inside of 13 years of each other.  Not really bringing a lot to the table but this Bruce Campbell fan is hanging in there for hopes of enough snark to get me through the flick.   With more or less one dimensional characters and a plot about aliens spying on the humans to collect data it feels a bit rushed.   Feels like a month shoot and away they went.   Lot of lag time between monster attacks, we get to see duct climbing that goes on more than 2 minutes so that is a lot of actor ass in each others’ way.   We see mostly CGI blood, a bit of tried and true karo syrup mix and lot of the pee wee heads or prop head of said creature through ducts and ladders.  You get the impression of the Wompa in Empire Strikes Back.  Decent makeup FX and the CGI is fair but I almost belted out laughing when I found out the stunt double for Campbell is named Duncan McLeod.  FYI he looks nothing like Adrian Paul.