Have you noticed that a good chunk of horror media uses easily recognizable creatures but avoids naming them as such? Like, those aren’t zombies in The Walking Dead; they’re “walkers” or “biters” or whatever. In 28 Days Later they’re called “the infected.” And in 2007’s I Am Legend those aren’t “vampires;” they’re… actually I don’t know what those creatures are supposed to be, but they’re vampires in the source material. What I’m trying to say is I didn’t hear the word “alien” in this movie until about an hour and 22 minutes in, despite just about everyone watching the movie realizing early on this is about aliens. The trailer’s even less subtle!
FBI Agent Daria Francis is investigating a missing woman and her son in the titular city, Devil’s Gate. Previously, Francis had found a missing teenager and forced her to go back to her family, leading to the girl’s suicide; that’s not actually important to the plot, but it is important to the overall theme. Anyway, teaming up with Sheriff Salter (Mr. Shawn Ashmore, AKA Iceman from the original X-Men trilogy), the two investigate the woman’s husband, Jackson (Milo Ventimiglia, who will forever be Peter Petrelli from Heroes to me). Then everything turns to shit. See, Jackson’s family have had dealings with aliens for years, believing them to be angels. When his son was sick he asked the “angels” for help, and they abducted the boy and his wife. But Jackson captured an alien and now an interspecies standoff has begun. We find out that Jackson is actually an alien replacement and that his son is the first alien hybrid that can survive on Earth. Salter and Jackson die, the boy and his mom are returned, and Agent Francis is annoyed that no one believes her (maybe she should start The X Files?). An epilogue of sorts reveals that the boy has alien plans in motion, tying back to the theme of “sometimes, bringing them home is not the best idea.”
Oh, and Jonathan Frakes, AKA Will Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation is also here. He’s a character that certainly exists!
This movie veers dangerously close to “asshole aliens” (last mentioned in the Phoenix Forgotten review because I like to link to my previous work), but really they’re being obvious to someone they’ve worked with before. If it weren’t for the cops showing up, no one for miles would know this angry farmer was in a pissing contest with some aliens. Their plan is kind of interesting–creating hybrids because they can’t live naturally on Earth–but I feel like that’s kind of a weird plan. Like, cool, you’ve created a system so that the next generation can survive, but not you. Maybe I’m just used to human selfishness, but a race ensuring that the next generation can survive sounds too farfetched, even for science fiction.
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