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The Alien Agenda: Under the Skin   C-

Brimstone Productions

Year Released: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directors: Tom Vollmann, Mike Legge, Kevin Lindenmuth
Writers: Tom Vollmann, Mike Legge, Kevin Lindenmuth
Cast: Arthur Lundquist, Leslie Body, Steven Jon White, Nick Kostopoulos, Jon Kimlicko.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

The final installment of the Alien Agenda trilogy doesn't cover much territory that hasn't already been covered in the first two. Maybe it's just me, but I'm still reeling from the information overload that was Endangered Species (the second one). If I'm not mistaken, there are two species of aliens trying to take over earth. Each species wants to destroy the other. The humans are caught in the middle of all this, and we know from Out of the Darkness (the first one) that by the year 2030, the aliens will have taken over. I'd have to watch Endangered Species again to get all the details straight, so don't quote me on any of this. Anyway, let's talk about Under the Skin.

The movie opens with two scientists inspecting an alien corpse, culminating in this bit of wisdom about our alien friends: "Well, there's one thing that's for sure: they are ugly. And they smell like shit." Then the opening credits begin, accompanied by an upbeat and likable pop-rock song by a band called Dead Letters. The credits appear over a computer-generated journey through the universe, coasting past stars, planets, and galaxies -- just as in the previous Alien Agenda movies -- and I'll be damned if it didn't feel like the movie was going to be a lot of fun.

But I was more than a bit disappointed. One of the things that dampened my enjoyment of Under the Skin was that I didn't like any of the characters. There's Alfred Malone (Arthur Lundquist), a scientist who's abducted by men in black and thrown into a Puerto Rican jungle where a carnivorous mutant starts hunting him down. Alfred's a boring guy, but then again, he's a scientist, so what did I expect? Then there's Victor (Jon Kimlicko), a small-time crook who has the police on his tail and has also attracted the attention of a new crime family in town (psst! they're aliens!). Victor is a bit more interesting and likable than Alfred -- and it's fun watching him run from bad guys and dodge bullets -- but I still didn't care much about him. What this one needed was an intriguing character like the ones played by Sasha Graham in Out of the Darkness or Debbie Rochon in Endangered Species.

That's not to say Under the Skin doesn't have several moments of cheesy satisfaction, along with some pretty funny dialogue. This one has charm in a Mystery Science Theater kinda way, but it's not enough to let me recommend it. I'd say check out Alien Agenda: Out of the Darkness if you're new to the series, and if you like that one give the other two a try.

As it turns out, Kevin Lindenmuth is working on a follow-up trilogy called The Alien Conspiracy, which will conclude this epic alien invasion story. Filmmakers that Lindenmuth will be collaborating with on this series are Tim Thomson (Creaturealm: Demons Wake), Les Sekely (Vampire Time Travelers), Ron Ford (Witchcraft XI), Alexandre Michaud (Urban Flesh), John Bowker (The Evilmaker), and Tim Ritter (Creep). Keep a lookout.

Review published 01.25.2001.

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