After reading “Aliens with Knives” on the screen, the viewer should immediately realize this is not going to be your typical UFO-themed flick. The title in fact seems like a cheeky and unashamed jab at M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, who successfully managed to simultaneously delight *and* enrage UFO buffs by (a) bringing crop circles to the silver screen, and (b) showing one of the most improbable alien invasions in cinematic history, where the evil Reptilians are just so incompetent they can not only get easily trapped inside a closet, but they also fail to prepare themselves to cope in a planet full of a substance that is fatal to them –water. Srsly Klaatu?
In this Winter Light Production –directed by Nicole Steeves and Struan Sutherland, with Paul Kimball as executive producer– Holly Stevens plays the part of Neila (I see what you did there!) who along with her husband Dan (played by Bill Corkum) find themselves on a small, isolated cabin situated on a remote location of the Canadian country under medical prescription; Neila is pregnant with her first baby after many failed attempts, a result of Dr. Kline’s (Sharleen Kalayil) highly experimental treatment, who enforces upon Neila an indirect overwatch by way of covering the entire cabin with yellow post-its (“Morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the morning” stuck on the loo’s lid). Alien-hybridization conspiracy fans who take Dr. David Jacobs’s theories too seriously should probably stay away from this movie –ditto for NRA card-carrying members; I mean let’s face it, you guys: you’re probably already triggered by the fact they didn’t choose to name this “Aliens with A-R15s” amiright? Go to your firing range and let the pinko-commie Cannucks have their fun…
Neila suffers from sleepwalking –oh noes!– and develops rather peculiar cravings, meanwhile there’s a creepy prowler nearby named Scagnetti (Mark Palermo) living on a tent and keeping watch on them. All this homage to Rosemary’s Baby and The X Files would make for a pretty ominous thriller under the hands of any other filmmaker who’s taken the Hollywood guidelines on how to make a ‘respectful’ alien movie to the letter; not so in Aliens with Knives: I mean the space creatures are shown almost right off the bat… in broad daylight! You could almost imagine every Spielberg fan faint in shock.
Hence Aliens with Knives has less to do with Chris Carter and Polansky, and is more reminiscent of Alex Rodriguez’s giddy irreverence in El Mariachi. Neila’s cravings are for rocks and sticks –good thing they have such good dental health plans in Canada, eh?– and Scagnetti is always carrying around a jar in which to save his spit –this is the least gross fluid shown throughout the film, so stay away from ice slushies while viewing it.
All in all, this enjoyable lowbrow albeit-intelligent comedy could be used as Litmus test on anyone with an interest in the UFO/alien topic: If you can’t laugh with this, you’re probably taking the subject a tad too seriously, brah!
In fact, the only thing missing which would have given Aliens with Knives 5 red pills out of 5 is a cameo of Stanton Friedman (Paul Kimball’s uncle in real life) showing Neila a bunch of blacked-out post-it notes as proof of the conspiracy –now THAT would be cutting edge humor!
Aliens with Knives was produced in association of Eastlink TV. It premieres on Canada this Saturday, when it will also begin its festival journey. For the rest of the world, it should be available online by the fall –unless the aliens invade us first, in which case stock up on the cutlery.