Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Altered Species (2001)

Let me reveal what the goal in my life is from now on, to find and watch (of course, what else?) every movie directed by Serge Rodnunsky. Who is Serge Rodnunsky? I don't know, but according to IMDB "Serge is constantly writing and working to improve the depth and interest in his stories and characters". He also directed at least forty feature length movie since 1990, mostly crap... eh, I mean independent movies. I'm impressed. Really. I love people who take the matters into their own hands and do what they want to do. Just a pity he's not more talented, but hey - I'm not the one to complain, I've produced three feature length movies and that's it. Just got me broke! Oh, there's a review to be written also! Sorry! Altered Species (aka Rodentz) belongs in that category called "creature features" and here we have a very nice creature, giant rat!

A bunch of drunk over-aged students wants to party and what's they best way to get some action? Right, drop by their friend Walter - a young scientist and assistant to someone more famous old fart. But things go crazy when he accidentally lets out the rats, and the rats is infected - or if they drank something (whatever, really) - and is spreading like wildfire (I always wanted to use that metaphor) in the building. One of them mutates and grows big like motherf**king bear! And then most of them die. The end.

Altered Species puts the words "altered" and "species" in the same category as "incompetent". I'm rarely mean at movies, especially low budget flicks because I know the work behind them, but this's... how shall I put it? Slow? Dim-witted? I would have hated Altered Species if it was made with a tongue-in-cheek approach, but it's serious. Deadly serious, and that makes it even more entertaining. The actors reads their lines and acts like this is IT! THE MOVIE that would bring them fame and money. I've been there myself, so I know what I'm talking about. Maybe they just close their eyes a little bit and pretends that it will be an OK movie, just hoping and wishing for something good to come out of this.

But they got f**ked.

Serge Rodnunsky directs with the hand of a confused high school student, drunk on beer from yesterdays frat party: he really don't know what he's doing there. The framing of the shots, the angles and editing is all very awkward. Very few shots fits together to a whole working scenes and feels like thousands of little snippets, stolen from other movies and made up to look like they belong together. Do you understand what I mean? There's just no thought behind the camera.

The best thing with Altered Species is the mutant giant rat. It's cheap and ugly, stiff and less convincing than the rabbit-suit in Night of the Lepus. They've shot the monster in weird angles and with rapid editing to hide the fact that the suit is a disaster. But it's still a man-in-suit! And we all love that! And when he finally gets his paws on the victims it gets bloody and graphic, ripped off limbs, gnawed off faces. Stuff like that. Wonderful, cheap and very entertaining.

I HATE the expression "So bad it's good", and I still hate it. This is a bad movie, it's an incompetent movie. But it's also saved by some of it's stupidity and a fun, albeit crappy monster.

I wonder what's next in line? Serge Rodnunsky, here I come!


Anonymous said...

"and is spreading like wildfire (I always wanted to use that metaphor)"

Me now I´m going to steal it from you.

"The best thing with Altered Species is the mutant giant rat."

Any references to Graveyard Shift (1990)?

I love creature features...thank you for this one Ninja.


Ninja Dixon said...

But I warn you, this is Stupid with a capital S! :D