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Shot and released under the title Canaries in its native UK back in 2017, Peter Stray’s debut feature has arrived in North America under the title Alien Party Crashers. I’m not sure why it took so long. Its mix of time travelling aliens, zombie like killers, government conspiracies and a New Year’s Eve party gone wrong, all served with a twist of humour, is a natural for VOD.

Steve Dennis (Craig Russell, School Of The Damned) is a DJ who’s found fame in the big city. He’s come back to his hometown of Cwmtwrch, Wales to throw a New Year’s Eve party and get some investors for a new project. The only problem is more aliens than investors show up.

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Running parallel to this are the efforts of a military research team led by Miles Kendrick (Rob Karma Robinson). They’re monitoring the situation as it develops. They even have an agent in attendance at the party. It seems a picture from this celebration turned up three years before it happened, or the phone that took it was invented.

After a montage of scenes involving abductions in multiple countries and decades, Alien Party Crashers takes slows to a leisurely pace as it sets things up. We do get a couple of shots, (including an excellent one of a spaceship partially outlined by fireworks) teasing what’s coming, but most of the first third is character driven comedy. Once the aliens show up though, the pace picks up.

Shot for just under forty thousand dollars, Alien Party Crashers pulls off some nice fight scenes and gore gags, including a set of claws through somebody’s skull. The creatures themselves are very creatively done. The crew of a fishing boat, still in their yellow oilskins, mutated by the aliens. Now zombie like creatures with nasty claws sticking out of their gloves. They may be what inspired the original title, but they’re much more lethal than their namesakes.

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Which isn’t to say they don’t contribute to the humour. Watching one of them try to turn a door knob with its claws is quite amusing. But most of the laughs come from the film’s humans, including a line about baby sharks that had me wondering if Stray hadn’t done a bit of time travelling himself.

Hopefully, a successful North American release will help bring about the sequel the end sets up for. Alien Party Crashers is a solid debut and I want to see where Peter Stray goes from here.

Alien Party Crashers is available on DVD and VOD from High Octane Films.

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