Baddie – It’s a magical pleiosaurus, Charlieeeee.
Lesson – Don’t dick with science. You might end up with an irrelevant movie.
This week on SciFridays, I sat down to the labor intensive task of drinking tea, knitting, taking notes and watching “Alligator X” or, as IMDB says, “Predator X”. The latter is more fitting as they make it quite clear that this is not an alligator. So I don’t know what drugs Netflix is on, changing the title like that. Also, I can smell the kerosene from the torches of the angry mob outside, so I’m sorry in advance for reviewing TWO ‘Alligator in Louisiana’ movies in a row. It won’t happen again. Probably.
In either case, “Predator X” could also be named “Delayed Reaction Time”. I actually mentally renamed the heroine this for the course of the film, and to her credit, she never disappoints. It ranges from very simple things like emotional reactions taking a few lines to truly sink in to escape plans, and even extends to the sheriff sleeping on a ladder. On. A. Ladder. It’s rare to see a character get themselves into a safe situation, in broad daylight, and go, “Welp, better wait at least 12 hours before swimming. They say you shouldn’t swim right after being terrified.”
Fortunately, “Predator X” also suffers from an excess of science. I’m dead serious, you guys. It’s like the writers actually like…researched? It was kind of disconcerting, if I’m being honest. There’s a scene with a police officer who makes judgement calls and logic leaps like he actually knows how to do his job. There’s a science scene that explains why something is happening with actual accuracy. I was shocked, and more than a little appalled.
“Why are you complaining?” asks all four of my friends who read this column, aghast and captivated all at once. Well, my four friends, it soon becomes apparent that when characters are smart in a movie, the plot/writing has to compensate. For “Predator X”, this meant that there was just not that much killing. Frankly, there wasn’t that much ‘Predator X’ at all. It was mostly a goose chase through a swamp. By the end of the movie I realized that not only was the Predator not at all scary, I was actually rooting for it.
Alright, quick synopsis time – Predator X is a hilarious pun nickname for Charles’ resurrected Pleiosaurus (think Loch Ness) a la Jurassic Park. He’s trying to find the right blend of brackish water for her to lay her eggs in, because he wants this dinosaur to survive. I say it’s a ‘pun’ because his main opponent is his ex-wife, allowing a ton of ‘X’ v. ‘Ex’ jokes. Also there’s a Sheriff, I guess. He’s supposed to be the new love interest, but I haven’t seen such a lack of chemistry since that kindergarten spin-off of ‘Breaking Bad’. Now, because this is Louisiana, there are rednecks. They don’t all suffer the same fate as the rednecks in ‘Creature’ because they have character depth (WHOA) and, in all seriousness, Ricky Wayne deserves whatever the B-Movie Oscar equivalent is.
Actually, if I could take just a quick second to talk about Ricky Wayne (he plays ‘Barry’), he does something so intensely clever that I’m convinced he’s a real actor. While he’s talking to the ‘Ex’ (Delayed Reaction) he says ‘sshedule’ like a Brit while discussing his orders. At first, I’m all like, “WORST Southern accent ever.” And then I realized that this guy actually flat out gives away the mastermind of the whole shebang in one word. Obviously, no one in the movie figures it out. This requires foresight on the part of the actor. Considering the caliber of film, I give him a ton of credit.
Admittedly, the characters were the most interesting part of this movie, because as I mentioned, it doesn’t really feature a monster. Alongside the above mentioned, there is a blonde chick who has to be like, the Queen of all Damsels in Distress. She’s just a character that exists to get kidnapped, fondled, used as bait, held hostage, etc. I’ve never seen a character get into so many inexplicable situations. Additionally, Mark Sheppard is in the movie, being a quiet and calculating British badass, as per usual.
In conclusion, “Xtinction: Predator X” is a movie with too many X’s and not enough murder. It’s a very good tame horror flick. If you don’t like blood, or nudity, or language, or things that jump out at you, than go see “Predator X”.
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