“Alien: Resurrection” and “Alien vs. Predator” followed as disappointments to the incredibly strong duo of “Alien” and “Aliens.” Even the polarizing “Alien 3” still delights despite its underwhelming plot and effects. Yet it’s “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” that brings the franchise to a low point. “Requiem” relies on shock value over substance for what’s an abomination of a film.
“Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” resumes where “Alien vs. Predator” left off. A Predator ship leaves earth with the injured body of Predator Scar. During “AvP,” Scar defeated the Alien Queen, but arrived onboard the ship carrying a gestating Xenomorph. The resulting creature, as per canon, is a Predator-Xenomorph hybrid. Whereas “AvP” felt rushed it nevertheless featured a likable protagonist. Unfortunately, there’s nothing of the sort in “Requiem.” Instead, it’s a clusterfuck of senseless violence and characters that whisk in and out.
As the film opens, a father and son are out hunting when the Predator ship crash lands. Give “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” credit for its boldness at least. From the beginning scene where a child and his father get gruesomely killed, “Requiem” proves that it’s a film that doesn’t give a fuck. Unfortunately, it’s not revolutionary in its deviation from conventional norms. Instead, it’s a heap of cardboard characters and pretty grisly violence. A few particularly brutal scenes find a pregnant waitress burst open and a ton of baby Xenomorphs rush out, and a Xenomorph attacking a maternity ward.
It’s not that I’m against gory movies. Rather, I quite enjoy well-done horror films. But unlike movies such as “Hellraiser,” or “The Void,” the violence in “Requiem” feels mindless and purely for shock value. It’s cheap and attempts to compensate for a shoddy story and flat characters. Instead of following a new set of characters, I would have preferred that “AvP: Requiem” concentrate on Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) from the first “AvP” installment. It’s the people, not the monsters, that made “Alien” and “Aliens” so enjoyable. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) offered a relatable, likable protagonist. In “Requiem,” there’s nothing grounding the narrative.
But give “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” credit. It’s a film that occasionally defies expectations and it’s pretty dark. From the ballsy intro where a chestburster rips through a kid, “Requiem” proves it doesn’t mess around. Unfortunately, “AvP: Requiem” is dark on multiple levels, including its actual lighting. The lighting is awful and it’s difficult to make out what’s occurring on-screen. I turned the brightness up pretty far and still had difficulty discerning action. Ultimately, there’s not much redeeming about “Requiem,” and aside from the inclusion of Xenomorphs and Predators, it’s fairly disconnected from the overarching “Alien” and “Predator” universes.