Alien Planet Poster

Alien Planet (2023) Review

Alien Planet is the first feature written and directed by Alan Maxson, though it’s far from his first film. He has credits as varied as providing the motion capture footage for Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ King Ghidorah, being the mouth of the killer doll in Genevieve, and She Bitch Shiela in The Litch.

With so many roles playing monsters it’s only fitting that his debut feature would be filled with alien creatures created not by CGI but by latex masks, costumes and even puppetry when needed. That and lots of fake blood, eleven gallons of it. In other words, Alien Planet is a throwback to films like Alien Nation and Enemy Mine but with an Alien Factor budget. And with a bit of social commentary that wouldn’t be out of place in Star Trek.

Alien Planet 4

After a war for control of a distant planet, the ancestors of Lock (Alexandra Bokova, Clyde Cooper, Mermaid Down) were exiled to the barren world she now calls home. The only reason they can survive is a strange liquid that once a year rejuvenates the planet’s water supply.

Not that things are any better on their old homeworld, but over the ensuing years, their rivals have destroyed the resources on the planet they fought so hard to win. With water running out they dispatch Brocheet (Hunter C. Smith, Alien Expedition, Debt Collectors) and the cat-like Giree, puppeteered by Naiia Lajoie and voiced by Maxon to retrieve the vial. The problem is the vial is hidden in a wasteland that’s home to The Dweller (Eric Prochnau, Meathook Massacre Part VI: Bloodline, The Beast Beneath), a creature that hates both races.

Alien Planet 1

Enemies having to cooperate to survive is a staple not just of science fiction but of film in general, from Hell in the Pacific to Escape from Mogadishu or even 48 Hours. Here Maxon uses it to examine how those on two opposing sides can have more in common and how national, or in this case planetary, identity can be an artificial division between them. And he manages to cap that off with an unexpected and powerful ending.

That’s not to say that Alien Planet is a talky, sombre film. While the scenes of Brocheet and Lock yelling back and forth while The Dweller has them captive goes on a bit longer than I’d like the film as a whole moves along fairly well. There is a decent amount of action for a low-budget film with the more pointed dialogue frequently arising as a result of it.

The real star of Alien Planet though is the alien costumes and the creatures, especially Giree who looks like a cross between a cat and a small dinosaur. With big expressive eyes and puke that can heal any kind of wound, it’s easy to see why Brocheet is so attached to him. On the other side of the coin, The Dweller is a big, nasty looking thing that looks like it stepped out of an 80s DTV post-apocalyptic film.

Alien Planet 2

Alexys Paonessa (16 Bits, Craving) and her team have done a great job at getting the most out of their budget and creating some impressive prosthetics based on designs from 1313fx. The film has a small cast and many of those have brief appearances, but they do try to give each character a few unique traits, even if it’s as simple as an eye patch.

Granted, there are a few things that don’t work, like the protracted voiceover info dump at the start of the film. And the setting never looks like anything but California scrubland, with the couple of structures we see very obviously human houses. But those are minor problems compared to all the things Alien Planet gets right, it’s the kind of nostalgic throwback we could do with more of.

In another throwback to the old days, Alien Planet is currently available on physical media, Blu-ray, but not on Digital Platforms. However, that will probably change in the near future. You can check the film’s website or Facebook page for more information. You can also check with FilmTagger for similar films to watch while you wait for your Blu-ray to arrive.

YouTube video
Where to watch Alien Planet
Our Score
Scroll to Top