Enjoyable sci-fi homage about aliens hiding out in small-town America. Goofy effects make it all the better.

[rating: 3.5]

This review was written 32 years too late10924144_800

Strange Invaders” sees lecturer Charles Bigelow (Paul Le Mat) go to the small town of Centerville, Illinois in the US to find his ex-Mrs, who has not been seen there after visiting for her mother’s funeral.

In fact, no one has ever been seen there since 1957. No people, that is. Because Centreville was taken over by aliens hiding in human form and the townspeople vanished away. Bigelow investigates, his dog goes missing, the locals attack him, and by the time he escapes and tries to tell his tale of aliens up-to-no good, no one believe him.

Not even tabloid reporter Betty Walker (Nancy Allen) initially despite running a photo and story about the ETs. That changes when they come to the big city to clear up the evidence of their presence, and Walker and Bigelow determine to get the truth.

This delightful SF yarn that remembers its forebears from 30 years before will probably leave today’s cinema-going audience in silent-mouthed what-the-hell-is-this-shit? bewilderment. [Author admits to being 45 years old at the time of writing.]strangeinvaders1

For those of us of a certain age however, “Strange Invaders” has the same low level charm (and budget) of, say, “House” (1986). It’s lightweight froth told with affection for its genre.

Co-written by future Oscar-winner Bill Condon, “Invaders” was the second part of a planned trilogy by director Michael Laughlin (following on from 1981’s “Strange Behaviour”. Alas, it didn’t perform as planned so that was that.

“Strange Invaders” is a comfy film, it’s the best way to describe it, and once you are settled in, you are happy to forgive the dodgy acting and awkward dialogue.  Alien effects are well done – lots of skin being torn to reveal non-human features beneath – while visual effects such as lasers have that cheapo Battlestar Galactica look you’d expect. Elsewhere, there are some really lovely mothership Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 17.15.52models deployed, with coloured skies and absorbing clouds. It all mixes together very well, providing a satisfying 94 minutes.


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