Monday, August 26, 2013

The Dark Side of the Moon


  There must be a literal blueprint somewhere on how to make an 'Alien' knock off. Industrial looking corridors, check. Strobe lights, check. Sweat and condensation, check. Bursting steam vents, check. Creepy entity or otherworldly villain, check. The Dark Side of the Moon follows this checklist to the letter, and as a result, it's actually pretty passable. The devotion to the Alien aesthetic is inspiring in an odd way. This movie comes off as more of a love letter to Alien as fearful characters peer around corners in closeups, sweating and keeping an eye out for the creature. However, does this mean it's a good movie? That remains to be seen.

 There are hundreds of Alien knockoffs and then there's the people who watch them. Who either fall into one of two categories. There are those who love this format so much, they will watch all the Alien knockoffs with some measurable amount of glee. If not outright glee, mild satisfaction. Then there are those looking for good sci-fi horror. The latter bunch would be better off simply re-watching Alien. The odds of finding a movie that matches Alien's quality in a genre populated by low budget DTV crap, are astronomical. This movie is strictly middle of the road for the most part. There's one neat idea in the whole movie and it's a really neat one, but something only comes of it in the last minute. Which I'd say was worth it in my opinion.

  There's a ship, it's in space, there's another ship which is like... abandoned or something. Obviously the two link up because the first ship is having issues and needs help. So when they use the oxygen from the derelict ship to replenish their own, "something" gets aboard. I say "something" because even after having watched it I'm not sure what it is. It travels from host to host, it can control them, and it considers itself god-like. It's motivations are basically... non-existent. Kill, basically. I guess. Lemme just say, in an odd reversal from the usual fare, the creature is not what's worth watching this movie for. The production values are higher than one might think. The acting is better than it has any right to be, and there's a palpable sense of dread and a real creepy atmosphere in the movie. Granted, you might be better off still watching Alien again or Event Horizon for that matter... but there's something endearing about this movie. In a late-night, VHS, bargain bin, kind of way.

  You fully expect it to suck, and the special effects to be utter shit. However the movie surprised me with it's persistently adequate attributes. This is not a bad movie. It's not particularly a good one, but only because there are so many better than it. I'm at a bit of a quandary with this movie. I didn't dislike it, and I can't say I liked it. It was so cookie-cutter-Alien, that I can't recommend it. Yet I can't bash it, because despite it's shoestring budget it replicates the atmosphere and tension that made Alien so scary. Isn't that worth a few brownie points at least? It doesn't look painfully cheesy, the lead actor is actually pleasant to watch and root for, and the weakest part of the movie aside from the strange alien entity, is the dialog. Which is often hokey as hell. Not much ever gets explained about the creature thing, and the movie might've been better off without it altogether.

  The ending surprised me, and the very very end, was actually really cool. Merits that are not easy to achieve in a DTV B-movie. So I guess the highest compliment I can pay this movie, is that I respect it for trying. Unfortunately, it still doesn't do anything that other movies haven't done better. Thus unless you are someone (like me) with an outright affinity for these Alien knockoffs, steer clear. Though I can't believe you'd run into this movie unless you're looking for it. It's so obscure. Having said that, I can say you probably won't be bored with it. I was entertained, if only in the most basic sense. This movie will quietly and unceremoniously fade into my memory getting lost somewhere between Forbidden World and Event Horizon. Both of which I'd gladly watch again. The Dark of the Moon is not a movie I'll miss, but it deserved it's watch. Kudos for giving it your best guys.

No comments:

Post a Comment