Beneath a starry sky, deep in the dark woods, something runs past as a white van comes plowing up. Three desperate men jump out, one of them harnessed with a homemade harpoon. They're all on edge and scared. There's the harpoon totin' hot-head, Cody (Paul McCarthy-Boyington), shotgun totin' Duke (Brad William Henke: THE FAN , THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR, THE ZODIAC, HOLLYWOODLAND) and Otis (Michael C. Williams: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, THE OBJECTIVE). The scene draws you in as these three rednecks insist on hunting something that clearly scares them nearly witless. You can't help but wonder what spurs such bravery in the face of a nearly all-consuming fear.
Soon the boys have captured their prize. The success they didn't expect leads to consequences they didn't consider. Now that they have the creature, what to do with it? Back in the van, they're pretty sure they haven't killed it, though there is nothing Cody would love more than to make sure. Otis, the driver, is growing more terrified by the second that the thing will come around and kill them all - or worse. It's up to Duke, the biggest of the three to make a decision, and he decides to go to Wyatt's place and let him decide. The decision infuriates Cody, but Otis just wants the damn thing out of his van and makes tracks to Wyatt.
Wyatt bolts upright from his bed, in his fortified home, tucked deep in the woods. It would seem that he has a premonition of what is about to happen, but his sleepy girlfriend, Hope (Catherine Mangen), tells him, "Relax Wyatt, there's nothing there." Then mumbles, "There never is..."
Wyatt (Adam Kaufman: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER [TV], TAKEN [TV], BETWEEN, WITHOUT A TRACE [TV]) hears the van coming, looks out a peep hole in his door, and shuts it, turning off all the lights inside. Duke knows he's in there though and begs Wyatt to let them in. "You gotta let us in, Wyatt! You know what's going on. You know what they'll do to us. I know you won't let that happen. You can't let that happen!"
Then Duke whispers, "Not again."
Wyatt relents and let's them into his garage, away from the sleeping Hope, then is surprised when they bring their prize in with them. He doesn't want the creature in his house, but there are several high-octane dynamics all going on at once. Cody wants revenge. Duke wants justice. Otis just wanted to know that it was all real and that he wasn't really crazy. He's got that now and just wants to go home, but loyalty to his friends keeps him there. As for Wyatt "I left this in the rearview a long time ago."
Nearly everything that happens from here on takes place inside the stage of Wyatt's house. And as the four men angrily butt heads, the story of what took place 15 years ago slowly comes out.
Hope: "Is this why you didn't want me moving in?"
Cody: "Look at what that damn thing did to me!"
Director Eduardo Sánchez (THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, SEVENTH MOON), working off of a story by Jamie Nash (TWO FRONT TEETH, SEVENTH MOON) lets events unfold to a quick, tight pace that lets the audience know, without specifically referring to it, that the clock is ticking down to a hard climax and something is going to happen fast. With an 88 minute run time (that includes credits, gang!), there's a definite edge-of-your-seat quality to ALTERED.
What's also amazing is this movie's
Science is the observation of reality and as such, is filled with theories, hypothesis, and educated guesses. Sometimes the most scientific thing you can say when faced with the unknown is, "I don't know."
So let me comment on what I do know.
Continued at Science Moment/2006/Altered.
Eduardo Sánchez and crew really knock this one out of the park. Extra kudos go to creature designer Chet Zar (THE BLOB , STIR OF ECHOES, PLANET OF THE APES , THE RING TWO, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) and creature suit fabricator, David Fedele (JEEPERS CREEPERS [all], 300, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE) and the folks at Spectral motion. The varmint is live action, realistic - not cgi, not a remote riff or rip off of anything by Giger or Winston, and its movements come courtesy of actor & stuntwoman, Misty Rosas (CONGO, VAN HELSING, ROOM 6).
ALTERED is a fun, action packed, scary, and electrifying movie! It's quotable and balls-to-the-wall intense! Go find it!
Four Shriek Girls.
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