UNKNOWN ORIGIN is a B-movie chiller that steals from ALIEN (1979) so shamelessly that it's like watching a page-by-page remake. Set in the ocean depths, UNKNOWN ORIGIN is a submerged road-show approximation of the original classic tale of parasitic invasion.
On the ocean floor in 2020, scientists and technicians for Mobicom Industries receive a distress call from an underwater Russian mining community. Clashing over the crisis are Capt. Jedediah Pickett (Alex Hyde-White), who urges caution, and Dr. Lazarus (Roddy McDowall), who wants to get his hands
on a two-million-year-old creature just awakening from suspended animation. Having mortally dehydrated most of the Russian crew, the intelligent creature is a beast that is capable of multiplying and must seek out fresh human hosts every few days. His new food supply is composed of Pickett's crew.
Although company executive Catherine Hardy (Melanie Shatner) sides with Pickett, Lazarus reprograms his android, Brill (Emile Levisetti), to keep the beast alive at all costs.
In rapid order, crewman Louis (Don Stroud) becomes infected, and a dying Russian survivor passes his intrusive organism on to Fife (Sha-ri Pendleton). Paranoia sweeps the underwater mission so totally that Capt. Pickett decides to force the lifeforms out of hiding by subjecting each of his
co-workers to oxygen deprivation. Quickly, the oceanic invader deserts crewmember Hawkes (Richard Briggs) for the healthier insides of a startled Dr. Lazarus.
Although the inhabited Louis is blasted to death, Dr. Lazarus prevails with android assistance and summons a topside rescue team to dive downward. The as-yet uninfected trio of Pickett, Hardy, and Wyatt (Rodger Halston) eventually outwits the inhabited Lazarus, who is subsequently torched by Wyatt
and Hardy. Unfortunately, Wyatt succumbs to a parasite during a solo cavern reconnaissance, so his associates eliminate him. Safely tucked inside an escape pod, Pickett and Hardy await salvation. What their rescuers don't realize is that Pickett and Hardy also house the life-sucking creatures.
The team behind UNKNOWN ORIGIN copies ALIEN so thoroughly that this sci-fi cheapie is practically a homage, despite the fact that UNKNOWN ORIGIN is not set in outer space. An alien fiend inspired by H.R. Giggler doesn't lose its basic identity in salt water. Here is a short list of what the two
movies have in common: (1) a secretive android, (2) the process of human-inhabitation by the original creature, (3) the use of human hosts to incubate future eggs, and (4) an embittered crew employed by a venal corporation unconcerned with its workers' safety.
This film does mount an escalating atmosphere of paranoia. It remains watchable despite routine direction and wooden acting.
In space, no one can hear you scream; on the ocean floor, however, everyone can easily identify the sounds of an influential film being ripped off. (Graphic violence, nudity, substance abuse, adult situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: UNKNOWN ORIGIN is a B-movie chiller that steals from ALIEN (1979) so shamelessly that it's like watching a page-by-page remake. Set in the ocean depths, UNKNOWN ORIGIN is a submerged road-show approximation of the original classic tale of parasitic invasio… (more)