Alien Domicile (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Sabrina Cofield in ALIEN DOMICILE (2017)

Dir. Kelly Schwarze, US, 2017, 88 mins

Cast: Elly Brown, Ashley Campbell, Sabrina Cofield, Michael Monteiro, Eduard Osipov

Review by Jean Stanton


Deep underground in the Nevada Desert, something is amiss. After decades of secrecy, fuelled by conspiracy theorists, sci-fi geeks and mildly interested tourists, the US Military has finally come clean and acknowledged the existence of the top secret area known only as Area 51. What goes on there is a different matter.

ALIEN DOMICILE desires to sit at the more cerebral end of the cinematic sci-fi scale.  An opening lengthy quote from Darwin about evolution adds gravitas to the proceedings, but then we are immediately thrown into familiar territory, with heavily armed soldiers patrolling stark, empty rooms and corridors, tracking down … something. The setting is cold, metallic, industrial with a pulsating soundtrack that builds the tension. We could easily be in a videogame here. And then – the lights go out, we are plunged into darkness and ‘something’ grabs the female soldier; we can’t see what it is but it has a viciously loud snarl.

Cut then to four people waking up in an empty steel-walled room. Security has put them there but they don’t know why. There’s Russell (Monteiro), an old guy, waiting out the days till his retirement; Hanna (Brown), a security auditor who just wants to get home and see her daughter. Dimitri (Osipov) is Russian and therefore can only be up to no good. And then there’s Gail (Cofield), from special opps, who is not looking too well.

What follows is a traditional game of cat-and-mouse – or aliens-and-humans – with obvious echoes of Alien, Predator and other nasty, other-worldly species. Suspense, action, scares and a liberal helping of gore are doled out in big equal measures, driven by that cold, exhilarating – and often intrusive – soundtrack. So far, so samey, and enough to keep less discerning sci-fi afficinadoes mildly amused.

The alien itself is mostly hidden, with just jump shock brief appearances for the first part of the movie, later revealed as the common or garden ‘greys’ nastier younger brother, with glistening, sinewy veins and a rash of razor sharp teeth. The species is one of five alien groups that have been here since the 50s – and they need to evolve. Are they really the bad guys then or, as Dimitri says when forced to kill, do they have ‘no choice’? Does it matter? In a film that explicitly discusses Darwin’s theory of evolution, with all characters – human and othewise – fighting for survival of the fittest, it raises unsettling moral dilemmas and encourages us to think about why we do the things we do, and how far we would go.

Read longer review on our sister site, Horror Island UK.


ALIEN DOMICILE is available to watch on Digital Download from 9th April.


Author: Jean Stanton

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