Invasion (2005)

The residents of a small California town are slowly infected by an alien parasite brought to Earth during a meteor shower.  This is one girl’s harrowing tale of trying to survive the night.

After a brief setup via a mysterious news report about the quarantine of a rural California community, the film switches to a POV/found footage film from a police car’s dash cam.  The officer drives into the park and is quickly overcome by a local resident who has been “possessed” by an alien entity.  The two then proceed to infect everyone they meet on their way out of the park as they head back to town.  One of their victims makes it to the patrol car and takes off, laying the foundation for the rest of the film: her pleas for help over the radio while trying to escape from the park and having to listen to the sounds of the town being overrun.

The POV style isn’t going to work for a lot of people as the entire film is shot through a car’s windshield.  The vast majority of the dialog is delivered off camera while the darkened trails of the park roll by.  Obviously, stronger performances would have helped here since so much of the story has to be carried by the delivery, but this is an independent film with a shoestring budget so some leeway needs to be given.  Some poor dialog here also hurts the film as the heroine quickly becomes petulant and whiny – she seems more annoyed than terrified and at times becomes hard to like, much less empathize with.

What this film does well is show just how much can be done with a budget of next to nothing.  The story has been told many times before, but this delivery is somewhat unique and there’s more to the story than just alien spores taking over the world.  The dialog, though uneven and halting at times, does help to create some characters behind the cardboard cutouts that they could have easily been.  The score, though minimal, is shockingly good.  Viewed in the light of the money they clearly didn’t have to make this, this is a film that makes you wonder “what if?”.

Stars: 3.5/5



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