This Sci-Fi Channel presentation tries to cash in on the success of a tidy 1950s B movie with a bigger budget and smaller imagination. The lack of suspense is matched only by the shoddiness of its interplanetary set design and its cheapjack makeup effects.
Ace photographer Jack Putnam (Brian Kerwin) fails to find respite when he returns home to his desert community turned ghost town. Pestered by a fatherless youngster, Stevie Fields (Jonathan Carrasco), Jack grudgingly makes Stevie an apprentice on a desert shoot that's interrupted by a bizarre
space storm. Pausing only to notice Stevie's concerned mom, Ellen (Elizabeth Pena), Jack resists accepting a mind-boggling explanation for the meteorological phenomenon he witnessed: alien invasion.
Pieces of rock from the invaders' life-form prove deadly for a prospector, Ben Cully (Howard Morris), who explodes one. Subsequently, Roy Minter (Bill McKinney) is not only sucked into the rock-like blob but is replaced by a body-snatcher who murders Roy's wife, Carolee (Lauren Tewes). Panic
spreads as the cosmic force sucks up the water supply and raises the temperature to 140 degrees. While Jack tries to placate vigilantes, the Roy-like alien slays Jack's buddy, Alan Paxson (Adrian Sparks); then both Stevie and his mom become victims of the human duplicators. After communicating
with the extraterrestrials through Ellen's body-inhabitant, Jack realizes that the space visitors are more curious than hostile. Although Jack is unable to prevent the town rabble from trying to blow up the alien's space rock, the departing vanguard releases the entrapped human beings and leaves
Earth with a low opinion of mankind's threshold for violence.
So much running time is wasted establishing paper-thin characters that the film's build-up to the E.T.'s mischief-making never acquires momentum. Under the guidance of a hack director, the actors shriek at each other about desert exoduses while the camouflaged aliens infiltrate the
neighborhood--it's about as scary as nursery school trick-or-treaters saluting George Romero. Without thrills and without narrative tension, this spineless chiller also crucifies itself with tacky production values; the space rock's interior is festooned with white fluff that resembles a drag
queen's closet of boas. An insult to the taut original, this update of 1953's IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE is notable only for the genuine acting of Pena and Carrasco; the other performers are as lively and interesting as granite lumps. (Profanity, violence, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: This Sci-Fi Channel presentation tries to cash in on the success of a tidy 1950s B movie with a bigger budget and smaller imagination. The lack of suspense is matched only by the shoddiness of its interplanetary set design and its cheapjack makeup effects.… (more)