The beauty of false advertising

ALIEN VS ZOMBIES: THE DARK LURKING (aka The Dark Lurking)

Release year: 2009

WARNING: this review contains spoilers.

That’s a pretty neat cover image, isn’t it? It appears to be a zombified xenomorph from the Aliens-franchise, and there’s definitely a certain charm to it. Let’s not dwell on the fact that a zombified xenomorph doesn’t make sense in the least, at least it looks good.

The sad thing is, that there’s no xenomorphs, or cheap replica of them, in the movie. Neither are there zombies. And not much lurking either. So, basically, the title of the movie has nothing to do with the actual plot.

Yes, welcome to another installment of Don’t Cut The Crap, where we concentrate on only the worst in cinema!

This movie actually has a few redeeming aspects going for it. The monster make-up and costumes are actually quite neat and the sets and backdrops look halfway decent. Even some of the costumes for the soldiers in the movie look acceptable. It’s a shame, or a delight, depending on how you look at things, that most everything else is a jumbled clusterfuck of shame.

The basic plot of the movie is this: a woman wakes up in a white room, a containment chamber of some sort in a scientific facility; from the prologue of the movie, we learn it is on another planet. Soon a group of soldiers enter hell bent on killing her, but are in turn slain by monsters glimpsed only in vague shapes. The woman escapes and joins a group of people trying to escape the facility. But wouldn’t you know it, all is not as it seems!

Basically, the “Aliens” bit is not totally out of place, because very obviously a lot in this movie is a total rip-off from Aliens. The facility looks like a budget imitation of LV-426, and many scenes are modelled after some scene in said movie. However, instead of xenomorphs, the human survivors are hunted by what appear to be some kind of demonic mutations of what used to be humans. The shrieking sounds of the mutants, or whatever they are (they’re definitely not zombies as they run, don’t require headshots, and transform to weird bleeding monsters with needlepoint fangs upon death!) reminds me of xenomorphs – wanna guess if that’s a coincidence? And there’s one mutant, sort of like an end-of-level boss, who vaguely looks like a xenomorph, but not really. And like in Aliens, the plans of the humans are foiled at every turn, and the group of survivors grows smaller constantly.

So far so good: sounds like your average modern c-movie, right? Horribly bad acting is entirely par for the course in a budget movie such as this; there isn’t a single actor whose performance isn’t pure cringe. The action feels disjointed and chaotic, because there’s obviously no choreography: the humans shoot in some direction; cut to a monster exploding in red; a monster hits at something off screen; a human falls down spraying red stuff. And so on. The plot jumps from scene to scene, with the survivors constantly doing stuff that seems illogical and random, and sometimes it’s hard to make heads or tails of it.

But that’s all standard c-move stuff right?

Here’s the kicker: the dramatic reveal of the plot, which explains how the mysterious woman – who everybody in the middle of the movie just starts calling Lena although she herself says she remembers nothing – came to be in the facility and why everything is happening. You see, Lena is actually the genetically cloned Lucifer.

Yes, really!

Apparently, as one character reveals at gunpoint, during the Second World War, the Afrika Korps found the remnants of an angel in the desert. In due course, these remnants passed from the Germans to the Soviets and to the Americans. How and why they were shipped off to space isn’t told. Anyhow, apparently a bunch of scientists figured it a good idea to clone Lucifer. Apparently whoever wrote the script was also a bit unclear on the concept of cloning, as it would rather appear that Lena has been injected with Lucifer’s DNA, causing mutations in her. I suppose they thought the cloning concept in Aliens 4 was cool and rolled with it, as Lena definitely has a wussy-Ripley vibe to her. But I digress…

So, Lena is the antichrist. Of course there’s an ancient grimoire, which seems to bleed of its own accord, that I guess is somehow related to everything; just how remains unclear, but of course there’s gotta be a bleeding book if Satan is in the house, right? Apparently Lena is also causing these mutations in other people, her presence somehow… I dunno, triggering a demonification of the dead, and whoever touches her too much. A few scenes even hint at Lena having some power over these mutated demons, but of course this plotline is never explored further.

The interesting thing is that when the other survivors learn of this, they do nothing. You’d think the obvious reaction to the information of a cloned Satan walking among them, causing the dead to come back as demons killing the living, would be to shoot the shit out of her and hope the demons go away when she does. But nope, they just continue as it was another water coolant rumour.

And it is this single moment in the movie which makes it worthy of being included here. Otherwise it’d just be a boring low budget knock-off of better movies. But this one plot twist casts everything in a new light. How can anyone come up with such a moronic, utterly insipid and senseless concept? And how can anyone write a script, let alone direct a movie based on it without realizing it’s so god-damned stupid it’d be better to just burn it?

The utter disregard for quality, sense or any other kind of merit of anyone involved in this movie is beautiful. Again, as with SkeletonMan and Infested, at no stage in the production can anyone have harbored illusions of creating a cult classic, or a nice little movie, or anything of the kind. They must have known it’ll be a turd. And yet they still went on with it. There’s beauty in such disregard and simple stubborness.

Alien Vs Zombies: The Dark Lurking (or simply The Dark Lurking) is a turd. There’s no other way around it. It’s not quite on the level of SkeletonMan or Infested, but definitely in the same league. Hence, for fans of shite movies, it is worth watching just for the insipid plot; how deadpan everyone takes the revelation that Satan walks among them is almost classic.

But for anyone wanting a good or even entertaining movie… look elsewhere.


Summary: No aliens or zombies here. But there is Satan, sort of. Complete crap, but with a gloriously nonsensical plot.

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