Undead EVIL Versus Hot Shot Mercenaries in “The Jurassic Dead” Review!


After being terminated from Government involvement and dismissed as a professor at a prestigious university, controversial scientist, Dr. Wojick Borge, vows retaliation against those who deem his life work, re-animating lifeless cerebrals into fevered ferociousness, irresponsible and dangerous, but before developing his plan of attack, an irefully distracted Borge is struck down and crippled by a pickup truck. Surviving the accident, Dr. Borge joins a radical militant group with a mission of destruction toward the United States of America. An elite team of five special ops hired guns are dispatched to Borge’s isolated desert compound to locate and destroy the mad scientist and revoke his dastardly end of days card that also involves a pre-calculated asteroid strike on Earth, leaving an EMP trail that wipes out all electronics and with America dark, the crazed scientist intends on releasing his toxin amongst millions of people that will vehemently destroy themselves. Caught in the mix are college kids on a road trip when their car dies and nothing can prepare them when they come face-to-face with an undead pre-historic sentinel at Dr. Borge’s compound.

First, there was the baaah’d-ass, four-legged, undead lamb chops in Jonathan King’s “Black Sheep.” Then, these living dead aqua rodents didn’t give a dam in Jordan Rubin’s “Zombeavers.” Now, directors Milko Davis and Thomas Martwick go full pre-historic carnivore with “The Jurassic Dead.” A indelicate cross between “Jurassic Park” and any zombie film you could probably think of for a film that’s has nifty alternate titles, such as “Zombiesaurus” and “Z/Rex”, Milko Davis co-writes an intrinsic script with “Generation X-tinct” screenwriter Michele Pacitto that narrates the mining of calcified tree sap and extract the DNA from fossilized mosquitoes in the Jurassic period….wait….that’s, uh, “Jurassic Park.” “The Jurassic Dead” isn’t that problematical, so forget I said anything about an intrinsic script. No amber colored fossils and no GMO dinosaurs here. Just chomp and chew action that’s “Jurassic Park” meets “Re-Animator” in this farcical, action-packed tour de force.

With a film about a miniature zombie Tyrannosaurus that infects people into burning-eyed and enraged zombies with a single bite, just like your typical dead head would be able to accomplish, “The Jurassic Dead” moreover has character flair gaudy with macho-isms and sarcastic tiffs lined in every scene and entrenched in a saturated dialogue and the character flair is flared by an eclectic cast, starting with professional bodybuilder Andy Haman. The 53-year-old built like a Mac truck steps into the platform combat boots of Duque, head mercenary in charge, and is notably mentioned resembling the video game pop culture stud, purposefully varied as Duque, Duke Nukem with the blonde spikey hair, shades, cigar, and muscles bulging out from a sleeveless shirt. Get this guy a seven-figure contract before he gets any older! Another noteworthy cast member and biological badass is an Ultimate Fighter Championship boxing style fighter, Raquel “Rocky” Pennington. The 30-year-old Pennington goes silent, but deadly as Cuchilla, one of the mercenaries with a liking for raising a machete to one’s manhood. Haman and Pennington already pair as formidable force, but the rest of the mercenary actors based in Colorado, where “The Jurassic Dead” is filmed, stacks more assorted attitude and brute. Big Fish Talent’s Ruselis Aumeen Perry (“Tsunambee”) masses what’s left of his team against Dr. Borge and his re-animated fossil as Stick and then, there’s Spivey, a fitting role satirically portrayed by another Tsunambee actor, Shale Le Page. Spivey’s rootin’ tootin’ good ole boy show is the cherry on top levity that tops a mound of primordial preposterousness. The Hits’ lead singer Mia Klosterman (“Battered”), Ben Johnson (“Curse of the Black Lagoon”), Cooper Elliot, Adam Singer, Mary Jo Mauro, and Juan Gonzoalez bring up the tail end of the cast.

At first glance, the shoddy digital effects and disjointed storyline (like what’s up with the two prefaces about Dr. Borge’s downtrodden woes that really have no standing leading into the meat of the story) might write off “The Jurassic Dead” on surface level viewing, but look closer, beyond the 1990’s sorely stretched rotoscope and a dino who bites like a puppy dog playing with a knotted rope toy and you’ll notice a respectable layer of re-played movie magic that includes just as much practical effects than it does visual. Detailed miniature models and a man, who I believe was Cooper Elliot, donning those realistic personal T-Rex costumes used more notably when pranking unsuspecting Japanese denizens walking clueless down a vacant building hallway. Hell, even some of the black drums are miniatures constructed from food cans sprayed painted black and the military-esque Humvee is a RC doctored battle-worn. The man behind the effects, Thomas Martwick, shows that Davis and Markwick are a pair of jacks of all trades and wear many hats that define dedication to indie filmmaking culture. A quality that surpasses subjective tastes of good and bad effects or films in general.

MVDVisual and Wild Eye Releasing present another wild horror film with “The Jurassic Dead” onto a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack. The Blu-ray was the sold reviewed format which is a MPEG-4 AVC encoded BD-25 disc presented in a widescreen, 16:9 aspect ration, with a region free cherry on top code. From the view point of looking through some of the sour effects, the image quality is like looking through the murky surface level to find cleaner, bluer ocean water, but the non-green screen portions of the film are sharp and more defined. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound caters to a lossy audio mix that betrays the dialogue track, favoring a generic and boring stock soundtrack over what I think was semi-important dialogue about how events play out. Bonus features include director’s commentary, a petite behind-the-scenes featurette, a few outtakes and trailers. While saturated heavily with chintzy composites and a scare level hover around nil, the ambitious “The Jurassic Dead” still bares entertainingly sharp teeth as a fun, no frills, feast or famine action horror abundant with Dino action.

Undead DINOSAURS!!!! ROAR!

EVIL Checks Into the “Motel Mist” review!


The Motel Mistress stands tall beside a highway on the outskirts of Bangkok. The adult-oriented love accommodate caters to the freakiest of the freaks under the soft glow of the hotel’s purple-pink neon marquee that’s shimmers on the rooftop during the tantalizingly active nightlife, flickering to a more conspicuous Motel Mist, but during the day, the near vacant hotel sits dormant and has scarce use. That’s all about to change when four visitors and one Hotel Mist front desk man become five strangers entwined into an uncanny affair that begins with illicit sexual desires between an extremely perverted and dangerous middle-aged man and a young school girl with ulterior motives and ends with a former child star’s refuge into, what he believes, is communications from beings not of this Earth. Salacious deviances, revenge, and strange occurrences check into the Hotel Mist, but will the five strangers check out?

From the erotically charged DVD cover from Philadelphia based home video distribution company, Breaking Glass Pictures, the Truevisions Original Pictures in coproduction with the 185 Films and Song Sound Productions produced “Motel Mist, written and directed Prabda Yoon, has the irrefutable markings of an unforeseen science fiction thriller from Thailand. Yoon’s introductory 2016 picture initially dodders on various genre borders that venture into the human complexities of interaction from an alienation or a subversive standpoint and wholeheartedly whips 180 degrees merging into exacting revenge and experiencing unearthly dimensions to an inevitable mesh correcting what’s characteristically abnormal. Though sexual romps in one-night-stand lodges have been marketed as quite the norm in Bangkok, Yoon pushes the creepy factor limits to the max, turning the dial on predatory intentions to an unreal reality.

The focus surrounds five characters with dialogued roles. The characters, with the exception of two of them, are essentially from all walks of life: a young hotel concierge with ambitions to be a fire stick performer, a middle-aged man with duel façade, a child star with unknown psyche complications, and then there are the school-aged girls with relatively the same motivation, but of a diverse personality type. We’re gently introduced to the middle-aged father figure Sopol, played by Surapol Poonpiriya, gazing at a newscast about a missing child celebrity on a car onboard touchscreen. Poonpiriya reels in slowly a conservative, perhaps even old-fashioned, fatherly figure where children shouldn’t swear and nose deep in cell phones isn’t a proper and good thing, but then the actor yanks hard back on the spoke, settling his character into a blurry role between niceties and deviances. Sopol’s an abhorrent wolf in sheep’s clothing, lavished and proud of his alternate life of an older man whose been with many younger women in his prefabbed BDSM motel room. His latest fair object is Laila, a young school girl in a short skirt with fresh innocence splayed from head to toe, performed by Prapamonton Eiamchan. Laila goes with the Tot’s flow by guiding her every move and letting him manipulate her like a doll of his pleasure. Eiamchan’s curious portrayal befalls her character’s with a relationship with masochism because of a more deep rooted motivational factor and the dynamic between Eiamchan and Poonpiriya pulls at the unsettling strings while also teasing visceral fantasies. Yet, oddly enough, Vasuphon Kriangprapakit cerebral performance being an antenna for alien correspondence is more intriguing. Kriangprapakit’s Tul is the crucial focal point that connects each character, playing against their vices that shepherds into a more savior role; in fact, Kriangpapakit could be considered appearing like the Thai version of the Messiah. While Tul requires a force invading into one’s mind bubble, Tot bubble seems to have popped with vague ambitions and being an overall motel lackey. Tot, a role suited for the talented Wissanu Likitsathaporn, sports green hair atop his punk rock outfit, and, like today’s typical millennial, enjoys conversing on the phone, especially with women. His sympathetic qualities aim to grant him amnesty for his cooperative nature, especially assisting covertly alongside Sopol, and being an agent of greed when figuring out his other daytime tenant, Tul, has a reward for his whereabouts. Katareeya Theapchatri rounds out the cast as Laila’s accomplice, Vicky.

As the subtitle insists, “Motel Mist” is a setting where there are no limits. Whereas that’s true for unlimited sexual pleasures and displeasures as well as thematics akin to the “Outer Limits,” “Motel Mist” has some limitations to challenge the experimental engine on which the film is powered. For one, the takeaway message has vague variables and not enough outright exposition to grasp viewers by the balls for that deep-in-thought, chin scratching moment that ekes forward the turning giant wheels in our heads, spinning conclusions and possible theories into plausible themes. For me, the takeaway message borders somewhere along the lines of the mysterious mechanics of the cosmic universe righting the wrongs between inherently misguided human faults and interactions. Whether that notion weighs in with any truth or not is most certainly up for grabs and could possibly way off the marker, but the enigmatic complexities are what make films, like “Motel Mist,” interesting to dig into and explore.

Breaking Glass Pictures calls for room service and has delivered “Motel Mist” onto DVD home video presented on a DVD9 with a widescreen, 2.39:1 aspect ratio and the region 1 Sci-Fi/Thriller runs just under two hours at 117 minutes. Often with a warm resemblance to Bangkok atmosphere, Yoon also seizes every opportunity with a vast color palate to shape the character developments in Room 7 with sultry red and Room 5 with a sterile black and grey. No problematic issues from a nice sharp picture in natural lighting juxtaposed a vivdly colorful. The frame work, by cinematographer Chananun Chotrungroi, captures micro stories with such aggression that it becomes a thing of beauty and with Yoon’s long takes, the sensation, no matter how unpleasant, lasts what seems to be an eternity. The Thai language stereo 2.0 dual channel audio mix has clean range and depth with parameters around mid-to-high levels of output through the variations of dialogue, ambient, soundtrack, and miscellaneous distortion tracks. There are English subtitles available and while seemingly translated okay, the yellow font coloring blend way too much into the background, making reading them difficult. Special features include a pair of behind the scenes with cast & crew and a trailer. Common perceptions of Bangkok could be extracted out entirely from director Prabda Yoon’s “Motel Mist” with a taste of illicit sexual affairs and the super bizarre in this unique science fiction thriller.

Comic Book Vigilante Takes on Evil! “Robot Ninja” review!


The television adapted bastardization of his beloved illustrated Robot Ninja leaves comic book artist Lenny Miller with a bad taste in his mouth. His disgust with the direction angers him to part ways with the project, leaving the televised rights in the hands of a careless and uninspired studio crews and execs, but that won’t stop Miller’s creative juggernaut of the captivatedly violent, robot vigilante. Inspiration takes heart-rending form when Miller happens upon a roadside abduction and rape of a young couple where his attempt at a rescue ends tragic with the couple being brutally murdered and him severely injured, but with the help of his good inventor friend, Dr. Goodnight, the frustrated comic-book artist becomes the Robot Ninja, just as depicted in his comics, with a vengeful plan to hunt down the assailants and put a bloody end to their wrongdoing reign of terror. A good first night out ends with one thug dead and an ego boost for Miller, but Robot Ninja’s actions don’t deterrent crime and, in fact, crime hits back hard when not only Robot Ninja becomes the target, but also his friend Dr. Goodnight and innocent bystanders.

“Robot Ninja” is part one of an unintentional two part review segment about directors disowning their own cinematic handy work for X, Y, or Z reasons and while “Robot Ninja” was initially discarded by “Dead Next Door” writer-director J.R. Bookwalter due to poor post production that was essentially out of the filmmaker’s hands and a work print negative thought to have been lost for eternity, Tempe Entertainment foresaw the awesome potential for the late 80’s automaton avenger in an dual format ultimate edition after a unearthed work print surfaced and back into the Bookwalter’s hand to mend and correct his sophomore feature film! Forget Iron Man. Ignore Captain America. Incredible Hulk who? “Robot Ninja” is one of the only true comic book heroes from illustrations to to take a stand against crime passionately and not because if you have great power, there’s great responsibility.

Robot Ninja is the epitome of the combo character that could sway into either hero from the 1980’s, like in Paul Verhoeven’s “Robocop” and Amir Shervan’s “Samurai Cop,” or could even swerve straight up into the villain category though I have no examples floating around near the inner layers of my cerebral cortex, but the Robot Ninja bordered the very blurry gray lines of anti-hero status whether intentionally or not from the perspective you examine. The Robot Ninja character potentially could have set fire to the combo character direct-to-video cult underworld, but fell rather hard and flat on its face in the deadfall of the netherworld instead. None of film’s flaws or woes never sat its hampering weight upon the goldilocks graced shoulders of Michael Todd, who portrayed the clawed hand titular character. Todd’s enthusiasm for the role is beyond necessary, a real A for effort, into powering on Lenny Miller’s illustrated crime combatant. Lenny, aka Robot Ninja, vows to destroy, or rather disembowel, the local gang led by the ruthless Gody Sanchez, a she-devil aimed to please only one person – herself. Maria Markovic, another actor that’s in J.R. Bookwalter’s “Dead Next Door” circle, find herself in the antagonistic role in one of her sole two credits. Markovic’s acting chops are about as stiff as a board, but being surrounded by the right kind of thugs in James Edwards (“Bloodletting”), Bill Morrison (“Ozone”), Jon Killough (“Skinned Alive”), Rodney Shields, and Michael ‘D.O.C.’ Porter, Gody Sanchez is able to achieve par-level black heartedness. “Robot Ninja” round-kicks an uppercut class of actors such as Floyd Ewing Jr., Michael Kemper, the original Dick Grayson Burt Ward (“Batman” television series), the one and only Linnea Quigley (“Return of the Living Dead”), one of Sam Raimi’s entourage buddies Scott Spiegel, and Bogdan Pecic and the good Dr. Goodnight.

Without doubt, “Robot Ninja” was destined for the direct-to-video market and the quality of work obviously shows, but with flaws aside, the obscure 79 minute feature still manages to be a part of Bookwalter’s “Dead Next Door” universe full of gore, violence, and a distain for human nature despite briefly disavowing “Robot Ninja’s” mucked up existence for years. Subtempeco EFX, comprised of David Lange, Bill Morrison, and Joe Contracer, don’t exactly go cheap when Robot Ninja’s dual blades pierce and pop eye balls inside the skull of some punk or when Lenny’s patching up his injuries without as much flinching in pain, the open, surely is infected wound just pulsates with exploded flesh and blood. Bookwalter’s direction is hazy at times around the beginning with the dynamic between Lenny and his publisher that feels stagnant and irrelevant; however, the comic book scenes interwoven into the meatiest part of the story, the Robot Ninja action, is remarkably cool for a late 80’s budget gas.

Tempe Entertainment have outdone themselves with the region free ultimate edition DVD and Blu-ray combos set of “Robot Ninja” with a “painstakingly” restored 2k film scan from the original 16mm A/B roll cut negative and presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The picture is night and day compared to previous VHS and DVD releases that underwhelm director J.R. Bookwalter’s vision. The vast color palette of various lighting and color schemes during the dream sequences have been gracefully corrected and the contrast has been restored to lighten up the much of the darker, almost unwatchable scenes. Good looking and unobtrusive natural grain from the 16mm stock and the re-edit makes a difference that finally seems cuts together without causing some confusion. The English language 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound is entirely new construction from Bookwalter and the lossless tracks have ample range and depth, balanced nicely throughout, and have little-to-no distortion or other imperfections. English and Spanish subtitles are also included. A slew of bonus material on both formats include audio commentaries from J.R. Bookwalter, Matthew Dilts-Williams of Phantom Pain Films, producer David DeCoteau, James L. Edwards, Scott Plummer, David Lange, David Barton, Doug Tilly and Moe Porne of The No-Budget Nightmare. J.R. Bookwalter also has a 21 minute segment about the whole start-to-finish journey with restoring “Robot Ninja,” a Linnea Quigley retrospect on her small role experience in the film, an interview with Scott Spiegel, a location tour with Benjamin Bookwalter, “The Robot Ninja” fan film from 2013 with introduction by director Johnny Dickie, artwork and promotional material, behind the scenes gallery, production stills, “Robot Ninja” unmasked featurette, rough cut outtakes, TV show promo, newscast outtakes, the original VHS release trailer, and Tempe trailers, plus much more. Lets not also forget to mention the stunning cover art by Alex Sarabia, Carol Chable, and David Lange and a new title sequence also by David Lange. Tempe Entertainment’s ultimate edition of “Robot Ninja” is a thing of beauty that should be seen by all who love campy, Sci-Fi horror flicks with grisly skirmishes and intense tragedy in every corner. The restoration work “Robot Ninja” is founded on absolute love, a rare concept seen for direct-to-video features so you know this film must be something special – a true redemption story.

Restored "Robot Ninja" on DVD!

When Evil Wants to Probe Your Delicate Hind Parts! “Revenge of the Spacemen” review!


Hostile aliens touchdown on the farmlands of a rural Ohio community, intending to rid Earth’s current human and non-human inhabitants. The green and bulbous-headed extraterrestrials’ attack plan is simple, anally probe every lifeform and insert into their cavities an extreme intestinal gas inducing capsule. As the atmosphere fills with the strong and continuous methane gas odors, the Earth will become uninhabitable which would be easy pickings for otherworldly aliens seeking an easy target after years of plucking cows and the occasional rural-ite. While the probed stink themselves into extinction, a ragtag band of moonshine drinking college kids, local law enforcement, and the Johnson family, the moonshine distillers whose farm is being invaded, arm themselves with bullets and beer against the aggressive anal attacking spacemen!

As if to the long for the days of yore, back when humanoid aliens, cladded in tinfoil space suits topped with bulging eyes jetting from big, green heads, landed onto Earth’s soil in the traditionally believed tripod-legged oval of a UFO saucer and armed with hi-tech laser weaponry to formally engaging in a planetary invasion, “Revenge of the Spacemen” dapples in mock-nostalgia and mocks the rudimentary narrative with crude humor of the independent film kind. First time feature film director Jay Summers helms the outlandish Sci-Fi comedy, penned by Conor Duffy as the writer’s first credit, that excruciatingly relies heavily on butt humor and beer banter. Obviously fitting for the forgivable friend to the indie filmmaker, Troma Films, “Revenge of the Spacemen’s” degree of plot and technical quality shouldn’t be a surprise to any viewer familiar with Lloyd Kaufman’s lavishly loony label who takes shameless pride in disrupting conventional filmmaking and creativity. That’s why we adore Troma and Lloyd Kaufman! However, the Jay Summers’ 2014 space invader romp is hard to love and will be found guilty of heresy by celestial geeks and their alien affectionate fandom.

Amongst the college kids, a sense of level headed character dispositions exist and, as a whole, are perhaps the better part of the written characters. George, whose motivation is to investigate the flying saucer that he only saw, is teamed up with a quasi-blind date and roots out the aliens to the core of their dastardly plan, becoming the thin bearing-like hero “Revenge of the Spacemen” couldn’t quite establish. Played by an actor actually named George in George Tutie (“The Brave Souls Who Fought Against the Slave Vampire Women”), Tutie plays the part well with little-to-no extra hamming. His friends Ozzy, Liz (“The Murders of Brandywine Theater’s” Kayla McDonald), Jan (“Easter Casket’s” Janet Jay), and Eddie (“Raw Focus’” Benny Benzino) follow more than embody their own will on the story, but compliment the hero in George to rise and shine, such as a Ozzy being a loyal buddy and Liz being the romance that George was missing in his casual life. On the opposite side of the spectrum and the more radical faction are the Johnson family, led by the matriarch, the rootin’-tootin’ ready for shootin’ and boozin’ Mrs. Johnson, while the Husband away. “Dying 2 Meet U’s” Janine Sarnowski’s no foolishness approach to Mrs. Johnson is hard nose kicked into overdrive with the shifter broken off. Her back and forth spouts with Sgt. Taggart are nicely confident and verbose, a quality needed in a mean old hag! The cast rounds out with Fred Munkachy, Bogusia Chmielewski, Logan Fry (“Clowsploitation”), Brianna Harding, Andrew Santa, Richard Raphael (“Return of the Dead”), Kathie Dice, AJ Nold (“The Demon’s Odyssey”), and Danny Bass as Catfish Bob who I thought was the funniest character out of the bunch.

Aside from the cut out flying saucer spinning through two-dimensional space, hitting and passing the moon, heading toward a blurry Earth in the background, and the composition against a live-action woodsy background, “Revenge of the Spacemen” is zero budget when on the subject of special effects. The green aliens, with bulging heads and bugged out eyes, are not trying to hide anything underneath the latex mask that flashes it’s edges from overtop the silvery foil space suit. The anal probes remind me of Ringling Bros. light up souvenirs and the green skin body paint comes in 50 shades of not grey, but does glow at times and can sprout boils on the face.

The Troma Team entertains the “Jay Summers'” “Revenge of the Spacemen” onto Blu-ray home video in a widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio, and even though I know very well that this is a Troma Team Video release, the image quality is upsettingly blurry with aliasing and doesn’t colorfully pop, especially when you’re trying turn people green and saucers fly around hillbilly central. Sharpness never comes through the entire 1 hour and 15 minute runtime. The dual channel audio track requires much more filtering to clean up crackling and ambience around one of the more important aspects of any film, the dialogue, and the severe feedback during more shrill moments doesn’t go unnoticed. Bonus features include a classical harebrained Lloyd Kaufman introduction, deleted scenes, and the original trailer. The Blu-ray also comes with some well illustrated cover art that recollects the past and is visually stimulating for the film inside the casing. “Revenge of the Spacemen” is supposed to be a monstrous, alien invasion, and campy homage to the 1950’s science fiction classics, but the aliens versus hillbillies melee is more attuned to a low-rent, laclluster production of “Mars Attacks!”

Evil from the Sky! “Devil’s Gate” review!


In the small rural community of Devil’s Gate, Oregon, a boy and his mother disappear without a trace. FBI Special Agent Daria Francis spearheads the investigating to atone for a regretful previous child disappearance case. She’s accompanied by a local deputy, Colt Salter, to assist her. During her brief investigation upon arriving at Devil’s Gate, Agent Francis comes to the determination that Jackson Pritchard, the father and husband of the missing boy and mother, is directly involved in their sudden disappearance. The investigation turns from a seemingly straight forward, open and shut case to a colossal mystery that’s beyond their comprehension when arriving at the religious dogmatist’s boarded up and disturbing cladded farm house where unearthly forces lay claim to the Pritchard family home for sinister reasons. With one of the beings caged in his basement, the desperate Pritchard seeks an exchange with the creatures he labels as the fallen angels in attempt to regain his wife and son, but as the night falls, trapping Agent Francis and Deputy Salter with Prichard inside the residence, they become surrounded by the fire in the sky creatures aimed to reap not only the world, but their souls.

Like an enigmatic report straight from the non-redacted portions of a nail-biting X-Files case, “Devil’s Gate” is a we are not alone sci-fi horror film from 2017 under the apocalyptic eye of director Clay Staub and co-written by video game plot scriber, Peter Aperlo. The considerably financed project is the first feature film for both filmmakers in their respective roles with Staub having served as an assistant director on other paranormal plotted projects like Zack Snyder’s heavily praised remake of George Romero’s flesh-eating zombie classic, “Dawn of the Dead,” and Matthijs van Heijningen’s underrated “The Thing,” a prequel to John Carpenter’s film of the same title. One quality that we can all can be pleased about is that Staub carries over from his previous experience as a genre filmmaker participate is the use of gore in the “Devil’s Gate” because, honestly just by looking at the cover and reading the plot, the bloodletting expectation was low on the totem pole. Staub doesn’t unload a gratuitous splatterfest of alien and human entrails, but subtly sanctions the right amount of extrasensory chest bursting and finger snapping goo that plays an ill-fated role of circular or motivational circumstances for the characters.

Putting the pieces of the Pritchard mystery together is Agent Francis who is a to the point and tough national law enforcement officer with a bleeding heart complex after her very first assigned case went tragically sour that looms an unexplainable root cause cloud over her straight blonde hair. Desperate to cure her past, Agent Francis rushes into Devil’s Gate, bypassing the notable chicken fried steak meal offered by Deputy Salter upon her tarmac arrival and defying the local Sheriff’s heed to not interview husband Jackson Pritchard, that sorely causes her to land in the virtually the same predicament of just trying to get the right thing done no matter the unclear ancillary evidence. “12 Monkey’s” television star Amanda Schull spearheads the character with the characteristics aforementioned with drab appeal, lacking the emotion and the intensity her character is supposed to be exhibit when trying to solve a case of personal redemption as well as the fear from an higher ominous power that can shoot lightning down from the sky and flash velociraptor toe-claw sized fangs. Colt Salter might be a small time, Podunk deputy, but the born and raised Devil’s Gate officer can match wit with his FBI counterpart. Salter strikes me as a character who doesn’t stray far from home, mentioning various times, in various ways, his parallel path to high school friend Jackson Pritchard. Shawn Ashmore, from Joe Lynch’s “Frozen,” opposites his costar Schull like Mulder and Scully type as well as an all-around good guy who happens to stray from his protocol path once Agent Francis puts her federal fingers into his already investigated investigation. Like his performance in “Frozen,” “X-Men” franchise, and even in FOX’s television thriller “The Following,” Ashmore is a pretty solid actor, showing a range of emotion that transcends him from easygoing deputy to mortality fearing when mankind’s on the verge of extinction comes into the equation. An equally solid performance by Milo Ventimiglia, who recently starred in “Creed II,” really sells the crazy portray by Jackson Pritchard, a God-fearing man with a long lineage of misunderstood family heritage that leads him to the uncanny bombshell that has been bestowed upon his family farm. Ventimiglia, in his roughest, toughest country twang, creates such an anxiety-riddled and frantic character that unravelling his fate is not too clear which is refreshing to be able to retain mystery to a role as we can kind of figure out how Agent Francis and Deputy Salter when fair in the end game. Rounding out the cast is Bridget Regan (“John Wick”), Javier Botet (“Slender Man”), and “Star Trek: The Next Genergation’s” Jonathan Frakes, still sporting that iconic beard even if it has grayed, as the town Sheriff.

In spite of some really cool visuals, especially of the man underneath the mask, Javier Botet, inside a ghoulishly white extraterrestrial suit that only his elongated and thin body (and perhaps also Doug Jones’) could snuggly fit into, “Devil’s Gate” tells a narrative that hails from a lot of re-spun material. Whether intentional or not, viewers more than likely won’t be able to help themselves as they’ll eagerly point to the television screen and say, ““Independence Day” did that first,” or exclaim, “didn’t Donald Sutherland star in the same kind of thing???” I know I did. However, Staub and Aperlo don’t completely ape the concepts that surely haven’t inspiring them, making the effort more endearing, and visually crafted a well-blended plot into an enjoyable and captivating story; a story that has been mostly devoid of underlining messages and symbolism other than the themes of religious zealots are extremely bad for the world and living with past regrets can be hazardous for your health if not properly accessed. “Devil’s Gate” focuses more directly on just entertaining another version of visitors from another world and how those no-so-little-green-men play an assimilating role into humanity.

Umbrella Entertainment releases “Devil’s Gate” onto a region 4 DVD presented in widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The vast Midwestern landscape with the foreboding rolling clouds stretches from top to bottom with an exact sharpness and crisp from the digital picture. The textures in the broad, yet barren-esque fields look especially detailed, more so with the wind and brownish-yellow color. Speaking of color, the hue is a filter of shadowed purple and on a sepia side that works the dread atmosphere. The English 5.1 Dolby audio track has ample range and depth. Lightning strikes boom equally from the five channels, alien shrieks trembles through, and the dialogue is not obstructed. Surprisingly, there are no bonus features with this release as the Stateside counterpart even has a trailer in the extras. There isn’t a static menu either as the film goes right into play feature mode. c