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Review: ALIEN OUTBREAK (2020)

Science fiction and horror, while being very different genres on the whole, frequently find ways to intersect. It may be horrors from space like Alien or The Thing. More traditional horrors in space such as Event Horizon and Galaxy Of Terror. Or the horrors of technology itself, such as Videodrome. Neil Rowe (Robot World) adds to the list with Alien Outbreak, a hybrid alien invasion/pandemic plot shot like a horror film for most of its running time.

Sgt Zoe Norris (Katherine Drake) has recently relocated from Toronto, CA to rural England. The morning is not going well for her. Her fellow cops bring in Freddie (Ian Rowe) a disturbed man who attacks her. Then her first call of the day turns into a series of suicides. Then the aliens show up.

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Giant craft and smaller robots cut off the town. It seems the aliens are using it as a test bed for a virus that drives humans to kill themselves. Norris along with fellow cop Patrick (Ritchie Crane, The Legend of Mordred) along with civilians Dale (Michael Terry) and the possibly infected Mitchell (Philip Alexander Baker) take refuge in the police station. But that refuge proves to be temporary.

Alien Outbreak features some incredible effects. The giant alien craft, the giant humanoid whatever they are and the distinctly non-humanoid robots are very well realized. There’s not a lot in the way of gore effects, but the odd bit of bloodshed is handled with equal skill.

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Thankfully, Alien Outbreak isn’t just a feature-length effect show reel. There’s plenty of genuinely tense creeping around dark hallways interspersed with bursts of action. That includes a failed rescue attempt featuring Jimmy ‘The Bee’ Bennett (The Haunting of Pendle Hill, Scareycrows) as one of the officers involved.

It’s almost as if Alien Outbreak is two separate films in some ways. The first hour really does feel like a horror film. People acting odd, mysterious deaths, and lots of dark shadowy locations. Then the Assault On Precinct 13 styled sequence at the station marks the shift in tone. The film moves to bright sunlight and lots of automatics weapons fire. However, the film’s most horrific scene is worked into the last act, which does make for a solid shock.

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There’s one hell of a twist thrown out in the final few minutes of Alien Outbreak. One I didn’t see coming, but when you look back at the rest of the film makes perfect sense. We’re left hanging on whether or not that is what’s happening, but that will be for the inevitable sequel to explain.

High Octane Pictures will release Alien Outbreak On Demand and on DVD on February 11, 2020. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.

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