Altered (2006)
By: Markus Zussner on June 27, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Icon (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 84 minutes
The Movie
Director: Eduardo Sanchez
Starring: Adam Kaufman, Michael C Williams, Brad William Henke, Catherine Mangan, Paul McCarthy-Boyington, James Gammon, Misty Rosas
Screenplay: Jamie Nash
Country: USA
From the Co-writer and co-director of the phenomenal Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez, comes his new piece of work, Altered. It's about four friends Wyatt, Duke, Otis and Cody, who were abducted as teens by ferocious, nasty and extremely cruel aliens with large teeth which are almost impossible to kill (yeah, the ones I like the most). One of the friends, Wyatt, has become estranged and has turned his garage/home into a fort fearing that the Aliens may come back to get him. He knows more about them than he will ever let on and it scares him to death, providing endless restless nights and bad dreams. He lives with his girlfriend, Hope, who is unaware of his past and will be totally unprepared for what is in store ahead.

As the years go on the only way the other three friends can come to come to terms with their ordeal is to stick together and go on a hunting trip that takes almost ten years to come to its final resolution. Altered is about this final night. It begins at night with the three of them hunting down one of the aliens who has recently returned to a nearby forest. They have set up pit and bear traps and have modified hunting equipment in the form of spear guns. In a very tense yet hilarious scene they capture the alien, but only after almost spearing each other. They then take their captured alien, who at this point has taken a thorough beating at their hands, to Wyatt, who they have not been in contact with for nearly ten years. Needless to say he is not happy to see them as he knows what the outcome will be - more aliens will come and they'll know where to find him. Reluctantly he lets them in as he knows that if they stay outside they will surely be killed. They chain and bind their captured alien to a workbench and put a welding helmet (nice touch) on its head. You don't want to look into its eyes because it knows how to get into your mind. What follows is a night of full-on chaos, mayhem, bloody violence and gore as the four friends make their last stand to end it once and for all.

Eduardo Sanchez has pulled it off again and delivered a nasty little ride of a movie with strong likeable characters, great dialogue and witty dark humour. Altered reinvents the tired theme of alien abduction movies, making this one of the most refreshing, disturbing and gruesome 'monster from outer space' films I have seen in such a long time; possibly ever.

Altered works on two levels. Not only is it a great alien monster movie, but it also works extremely well as a siege movie, but not your typical siege movie like Assault on Precinct 13 or NOTLD, There are more aliens hanging around but not anywhere near the garage fortress, they are waiting in orbit and if any of the characters does a runner from this remote location, they'll just fly down and stop 'em dead in their tracks. This is where Sanchez subtly utilises the psychology which was used in The Blair Witch Project, where he uses sound and shadows to make the viewer and the characters hear and think they see things that may or may not actually be there. Sanchez only uses two locations for Altered; the garage and the forest which he does to the greatest of effect; together with an excellent non-clichéd script and absorbing characterisation, you won't have even a second to feel bored.

The alien looks great. Basically it's a man, actually it's a woman in a monster suit, but try and find the zipper, and I bet you can't. An excellent full sculptured body suit from head to toe makes for a very authentic looking humanoid creature that I would give my left pinkie to wear to a Halloween gig. I was most impressed. The alien was played by Misty Rosas, apparently one of the best suit actors in the business (she played Amy the gorilla in Congo). The gruesome gore effects are top notch and Sanchez uses a little dark humour to take the edge off them a bit. Another big bonus is that this movie is almost CGI free.

The ending is awesome; it's witty and well thought out which will have you hooting and hollering for more.
The Video quality is crisp and clear for the whole duration. It's all shot at night. A lot of the scenes are in the dark, especially when the power cuts, but don't worry you won't miss a thing; clarity and depth are maintained to optimum standards.
English 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital. Nice sound production, worthy of any sound system, which just enhances the trip further more. Great use of sound effects to provide an uncomfortable sense of unease. No hiss, hum or buzz. I played this baby loud until the only ringing was the ringing in my ears. Absolute kickass!
Extra Features
Sadly there are no extras on this rental disc, except for trailers which are mostly non-genre related with the exception of The Hitcher and The Descent. The retail disc will contain deleted scenes.
The Verdict
Dark, disturbing, gruesome and gory. Altered is a tour-de-force of alien predator versus man in the ultimate showdown that will keep in your mind for many restless nights to come. Lock your doors and watch the skies, because it will find you!
Movie Score
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