Film reviews

Alien Addiction – SCI-FI LONDON Film Festival

It’s hard to come away with a single overriding opinion about Alien Addiction. It is, by turns, intriguing, amusing, ridiculous, gross-out funny, dull, and frustratingly distracted in getting where it’s going. The trailer – as many trailers are wont to do – vastly misrepresents what the movie is about, setting it up as the story of a possible alien visitation hoax, when in fact this is a negligible sliver of the plot, and not at all what the story focuses on.

Or, rather – what the story tries to focus on. Because watching Alien Addiction is a little like listening to an eight year old tell a story, complete with all the overblown moments, rambling rants, and detours to non-essential plot points, before getting a bit bored and quickly wrapping up the tale.

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Alien Addiction – as it kinda says on the tin – is about aliens, and drugs, and having a good time. It starts off strongly enough, establishing likeable loser Riko (Jimi Jackson) as the protagonist, struggling to live with his ageing aunt, who may be going a bit off the rails in her beliefs that she can hear aliens in the walls. But then, too briefly and rather too late into the film, it introduces UFO buff Peter Macintosh (Thomas Sainsbury) as the antagonist and… it doesn’t really stick. It’s not so much that there is a primary and secondary plot: these strands are both part of the main plot and are supposed to come together as the story moves forward. But instead they both feel rather like B-plots, with each puttering along a bit aimlessly and waiting to see what happens. This issue could be resolved, or at least improved, with some judicious editing, but as it stands the film is a little stilted and uneven.

The script, overall, is reasonable, although it could have done with some tightening up. There are moments that feel improvised and a little rambly, that could have been tidied up, but there are also large chunks of the script that work really well, that are entertaining and pretty funny.

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Jimi Jackson largely carries the movie, with his comedic delivery and physical comedy succeeding even when the script isn’t at its best. Steven Samuel Johnston and Mel Price also win with their physical interpretation of the aliens, despite not being able to emote facially. The aliens themselves – which of course are the thing that viewers want to see – are just the right mixture of weird and ridiculous – pitched just right for the tone of the film.

And what is the tone? To say toilet humour is both over- and understating the situation, and it’s something of a surprise that the script doesn’t push it further. There are some questionable choices around the derivation of comedy from the perceived grossness of plus-size, promiscuous Jacinta (JoJo Waaka), and although there are no outright fat jokes the implication is there, even if the script tries to make it up to her later on.

Alien Addiction starts off with intrigue but then somehow breaks its own mood and style and ends up a bit all over the place. But even with all of its issues, this is a film that could end up being a bit of an underground classic. It has ‘student humour’ written all over it, and is probably best watched on an inebriated night in with your mates.

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