COMPANY: Decoys Production
RUNTIME: 94 mins
PLOT: The sexy alien invasion force returns to Earth to carry out the same plan as in the first movie, but this time at a different university, located in a different city, and with an updated plan of attack.
REVIEW: Shortly after posting my review of the first Decoys movie, it was brought to my attention that there actually is a sequel to Decoys out there, so I scrambled to get my hands on a copy. As soon as I did, I popped it in, anxious to view the next chapter in this awesomely-campy Canadian sci-fi/comedy series.
Despite the basic plot sounding like a carbon copy repeat of the first movie – it's really not. This one manages to take the same plot, but do completely different stuff with it, which both worked and didn't work, depending on the part of the movie.
With this taking place at a different school in a different part of Canada, we're introduced to a whole new cast of characters for this movie. We've got the main lead and his dorky best female friend who's pretty much just a copy of the same kind of character from the first movie down to a T – she even has feelings for the main character but he doesn't realize it himself. There's also a trio of his friends who are gamer nerds, with one or two being jock-types. They all start a kind of secret tournament to see which one of the group can rack up 'the most points' by how many girls they can sleep with, leading up a big annual End of Semester campus party. There's not much more to really say about any of these characters as they're all pretty bland and forgettable. One of the things I mentioned in my review of the first movie is that in many movies like this, despite saying and showing us that these people are best friends, they do a piss poor job of actually portraying it. This would be one such movie, as I didn't believe for a second that any of this group would possibly be friends with each other. They all have zero chemistry together. Although I was happy to see that more of them join the main character this time around in his fight against the aliens, as opposed to the first movie where that guy was mostly going solo in his attack the entire time.
Other then the lead teens, I was quite surprised that a couple of the new, more-aged characters, were actually played by some pretty well-established actors. We've got Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers. Saw series) as a psychiatrist and Tobin Bell (Boogyman 2, Saw series) as the University's science professor, although it's quite hard to get past his role of Jigsaw from the Saw movies every time he speaks. While neither have any large amount of screen time, they do get a decent amount and have some interesting things to do. Certainly more interesting then the two cops from the first movie, that's for sure. Also surprisingly, and very-much welcomed, are two actors from the first movie back to reprise their roles. There's Kim Poirier back as the leading sexy alien babe (she was the one sexy alien babe interested in the lead character's best friend in the first movie), however in this one she doesn't play exactly the same character. If you remember, she died in the first movie so this time it's simply a new, much more vicious, alien just using the same human skin design as a way to screw with someone's head. This time around, instead of being one of the little worker bees out trying to get laid by someone in the student body of the university, she instead works undercover as a newly-transferred doctor/psychiatrist at the hospital that makes visits to the school to keep an eye on everything, and is seemingly in-charge of this nest of sexy alien babes. The Mother of them, if you will. And while she doesn't have a whole lot to do during the movie beyond spy on one of the characters from a distance and do various things to screw with his mind, she does end up being the 'final boss' of the movie, so to speak, and was quite enjoyable in that fashion.
Accompanying her is also Corey Sevier back as an older, slightly more-crazy Luke, the lead character from the first movie. If you remember in my review of that movie, I said I was hoping he and his tomboy female friend would return for any future sequels, and I got half of that wish come true. He's far less dorky this time around and much more composed and intense, showing some decent character growth from the first movie, and while he plays a bit smaller of a role this time (more of a supporting character then a main one), I'm fine with it due to the way he plays it. He has the scattered appearance throughout the first part of the movie as Tobin Bell's teacher assistant, a scene or two with his shrink (played by Dina Meyer) since he's currently plagued by many sleepless nights and daytime nightmares due to the events of the first movie and due to Kim Poirier's new character messing with his head unbeknowest to him, and then a scene or two of him suspecting that something isn't right around campus and looking into it. He doesn't really get a chance to truly shine until about half an hour from the end when he comes across Kim Poirier's character face-to-face in the flesh and realizes that he was right about the alien invasion, and that he's not crazy. He then saves the current cast of main characters from a raging alien attack like the complete bad ass he's become between movies, then proceeds to drop some knowledge on them about the invading aliens and trains them in awesome sexy alien babe-dispatching methods. The only disappointing thing about his return is that the female character from the first movie that ended up with him at the end of that one is nowhere to be found, and her absence is never addressed, which is unusual given what happened at the end of the first movie. The scene itself is addressed, but not what happened to her, or where she is now.
And of course I have to mention the sexy blond alien babes once again. Everything established about their species in the first movie is carried over here and also further-expanded upon. So often when a series is handed over to someone new, they tend to either change or outright ignore certain rules, so it's nice to see that these people pay respect to what has already been established. Of course we have plenty of nude and barely-clothed scenes with them in it – possibly even more then the first movie had, but we also get the nice addition of them wearing certain, um, fantasy clothing in some scenes, thanks to a new power of theirs that wasn't on-display on the first movie. Also, where the first movie portrayed the aliens in almost a victim kind of way and made you really care for them and kind of understand why they're doing what they're doing, this time around the aliens are portrayed as vicious evil bitches that must be stopped at all costs. The change is a bit jarring at first but after thinking about it, I'm perfectly fine with it. Like I said above, this movie takes the same plot as the first, but does it's own stuff with it to make it enough of a separate entity to be worth your time, and this is just one of the things it does to make itself different. Plus it creates more situations were we get better, and longer, looks at the aliens in their true alien forms – and they look simply bad ass. Props off to the creature designer of this movie, because he did an excellent job with the special effects for the aliens, even making two or three different designs, depending on the character. In the first movie you only ever got a few very quick glances at the creatures, and when you did you could tell they just used the exact same CGI model for every single one, but in this one we get some good practical man-in-suit shots, and a couple different designs at that. And lastly, where the nest of them failed in the first movie by bringing too much attention to themselves due to leaving the dead bodies everywhere, the nest in this one is much more smart and they make sure to get rid of the dead bodies themselves, leaving no evidence around to cause suspicion of their activities, which actually becomes a plot point when Luke from the first movie starts suspecting something isn't right and tries looking into it and warn people about it.
While the acting isn't anything to write home about, it must be noted that it is improved from the first movie, even by the returning actors. Of course, by having veterans such as Dina Meyer and Tobin Bell in your movie, that certainly helps to elevate the bar a bit. Another improvement comes by way of the special effects. Like I already mentioned, in the first movie everything was done with quick CGI and this time around we get a lot more practical physical effect shots, and because of that, we get longer, better, shots of them. The aliens themselves, their tentacles as they burst out of the stomachs of their human forms, all of it just looks so much better this time around. Even the small amount of shots that are CGI are done with better, upgraded, effects.
Not everything was peaches and cream though. The biggest fault of this movie isn't that the characters were uninteresting and bland, like I touched on above. No, it's that for the majority of it – it was just plain boring. Not a whole lot really happens for quite a large portion of it. And even that wouldn't be too bad if the movie took that slow pace to have some good character-building scenes like the first did, but they didn't. By the end of the movie, I didn't give two shits about any of the new characters, with most of them being not only forgettable, but largely annoying to boot. The movie is actually a bit shorter then the first yet while watching it, it feels so much longer. Once things finally get going though, it does try to return to the campy fun that the first movie captured so well, but doesn't quite reach the level of camp that that one held. Absent are the cheesy memorable one-liners and dialog that was on display in the first movie. “You were right. There ARE blond aliens on campus!” is the best one in the movie, and really, one of the only ones. This movie actually plays itself off as more straight and serious for the majority of it then even the first half of the first movie did, which I'm not a fan of simply because my favorite stuff from that one were the more over-the-top campy scenes, and it's important that a movie of this kind doesn't try to take itself too seriously, and this one seemed to be on the edge of doing just that. However, there were a couple scenes towards the end where things seemed like they could be headed in a more campy, comedic direction. For example, there was a scene where they used the main human girl to scan the dance floor to try to determine which girls were aliens since she wouldn't be fooled by the hormones they gave off. The music used, mixed with how the character was portrayed for that scene, really made it quite funny. Another scene would be shortly after that part, when the group of them all gear up with various home-made heat weapons to fight off the aliens with. And of course there was the scene where Luke from the first movie was going all crazy in the hospital upon seeing Kim Poirier's character for the first time in this movie. Unfortunately, despite these scenes and a few other minor ones, it never quite gets to the level of fun or camp that the first movie had.
I was quite happy though to see that much like with the previous movie, this returns to the winter landscape that I so-love in movies and wish more movies utilized it. Also much like the first movie, there were some well-played twists in the plot that I didn't see coming at all, so kudos for those. It also did quite well with the added element of 'Is *insert interchangeable female character* an alien, or isn't she?' paranoia that the first movie never touched on but this one did a few times, and ended quite humorously in a couple cases.
So in closing, while a different crew made this movie then the first (different director and different scriptwriter), they managed to properly hold their own with someone else's material and improved many aspects, but lack of any interesting main characters, lack of fun campy scenes, and a very slow pace prevents it from being as good as the first movie. Still, while not as good, it still is good in it's own right, and did manage to be a worthy addition to the series all the same.
With the cliffhanger ending given to us in this movie, I would love to see one final entry made to finish out the story and end it as a fun little trilogy. However, since this movie came out in 2007 and it's now 2011 with not a single whisper of a third movie being made, I believe we'll just have to come to terms with the fact that this is all we'll ever have for the series, and we'll never get a proper conclusion to the story. (Hey, I suddenly just got an idea for a new SyFy Channel TV series...)
6/10 rooms in the Psych Ward