(18) Running time: 89 minutes
Director: Jason Connery
Writers: Kenny Yakkel, Lucy Mukerjee
Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Rachel Miner, Jason London
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Every now and then, After Dark Originals come up with a gem of a horror, sadly 51 is not one of them. The idea is good, but the execution is terrible, and even though this idea has been done to death, I was intrigued to see what director Jason Connery would come up with. Sadly I wish it had stayed at the point of intrigue, because 51 is one of those movies that will have you begging for that precious time back.
The set up is a nice idea: pressure from the Government has meant that some military chaps have had to allow a few selected members of the press to visit the mysterious Area 51 (hence the title, clever that!), and being a sci-fi horror flick, things obviously do not go according to plan. The journalists are a happy, excited bunch, helped along by the eye candy of the film, the gorgeous Vanessa Branch as Claire, and the military are a bunch of stroppy, moody old farts who aint happy about these nosey bastards, well, sticking in their noses in! However, they have to show them around, and the tour is carefully planned out not to show too much. We see one alien sat in his room bizarrely listening to some awful music and waiting for his medication, everything seems hunk dory, until…
Well, bad things happen as the ‘visitors’ (the alien one’s) decide to have some fun and take the opportunity to try and break out. Lead by some big, mean alien that is clearly a man in a rubber suit trying to keep his balance with his extended arms, all hell breaks loose and suddenly both the press and the military have to battle to save their very lives. The whole thing is expected to lead to a climax of epic proportions as military, alien and hot press chick square off!
Things do head to a climax, but the film is so incredibly bad that you will have given up caring. Awful music, atrocious (and I mean ATROCIOUS) acting, poor special effects and badly created tension lead to a whole load of nothing. The characters are all as dull as they come, and even the attempt at some sort of back story for some of them does not help you connect. The effects are crap, although it is nice to see the man in a rubber suit still in use (however here the poor bugger is so clumsy you cannot help but laugh at the poor fella) The pacing is awful, and any scares or menacing moments are completely ridiculous and lose all credibility. Some attempts at jokes don’t work, and the actors trying to convince they are in the military will have you wondering how the local drunk wasn’t cast instead. Honestly, seeing these guys pretending to be military, pointing their guns, giving orders and attempting hand signals, is like watching a bunch of children out playing in the woods for the first time pretending they are Rambo.
51 is one of those silly films that would probably be a hell of a lot more fun watching on a Friday night, with a large pizza and lots of alcohol. At least then you could laugh along with the show, rather than watch it sober like me and feel irritated and completely drained of any will to live.