10 remarkable things about Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem

Feature Ryan Lambie 20 Mar 2014 - 06:47

Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem was critically panned in 2007. But at least we've found a few remarkable things to say about it...

NB: The following contains spoilers for Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem and other films of an Alien or Predator persuasion.

Everything gets worse. It's one of the basic, fundamental laws that governs the cosmos. According to scientific-type people, all systems degrade over time: a bowl of fresh fruit will soon disintegrate into a puddle of hideous goo. A shiny new car will one day collapse into a heap of rust. The sun will eventually run out of energy and shrivel up.

You can see entropy at work in film franchises - not least 20th Century Fox's Alien. The first film arrived like a shrieking demon in 1979, frightening the life out of audiences with its haunted-house-in-space fear and loathing. Aliens followed it in 1986, increasing the threat and turning the original film's creeping terror into a survival-horror rollercoaster. Then came Alien 3 in 1992, a baroque, atmospheric muddle rushed for a predefined release date.

By the time Alien: Resurrection arrived in 1997, the aliens were swimming, Ellen Ripley was playing basketball and the fear factor had long gone. Likewise Alien Vs Predator, the 2004 film that brought the Alien and Predator universes together in a murky comic book adventure set in an ancient temple. Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem trudged after it three years later, attempted to bring back the gore of the earlier films, but also added ill-advised elements of teen soap operatics and questionable B-movie schlock.

Of all the films in the Alien and Predator franchises, Requiem was the worst received by critics, and adjusted for inflation, it was also the least successful at the box-office. But while Requiem is widely regarded as a low point in the series, it's not hard to find a few remarkable things tucked away in the film if you look hard enough. Things like these:

1. Everything happens on fast-forward

Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem picks up immediately after the previous film, which might confuse people who either didn't see 2004's AVP, or were extremely drunk when they did see it three years before (which we weren't - honest). Aboard a spaceship leaving Earth, a chestburster emerges from the body of the Predator from the last film. The alien swiftly grows up, murders the remaining occupants, leaving the craft to tumble back to terra firma and crash into the town of Gunnison, Colorado.

Now, you could pick all sorts of holes even at this early stage. Don't the Predators, with all their incredible technology, have some sort of airport scanner which can locate unborn alien foetuses as each Predator boards the ship? If the Predator ship was leaving Earth, why did it circle back on itself?

Directors Colin and Greg Strause leave us little time to ponder these questions, as the plot hurtles along like an express train. It's a bit like a father reading a bedtime story to his child, except he's reading it really quickly because he wants to go to the pub.

The important thing to glean is that the creature born from the dead Predator is a new, more terrifying kind of xenomorph - one that merges the characteristics of both an Alien and a Predator. It's the Pred-Alien - a towering, screeching ghoul with the same haircut as the Predators. Here he is: 

This opening sequence is essentially the entire plot of alien compressed into approximately five minutes: creature explodes from victim, grows to spectacular size (in a few seconds, as presented here), and kills the crew one by one. Then, in a departure from Ridley Scott's film, the ship crashes into a forest in the middle of Colorado. There goes the neighbourhood.

2. A small boy watches his father's arm drop off

If Alien Vs Predator's staccato PG-13 violence irked you, Requiem's first act sends out a clear message: we're in R-rated territory here.

A huntsman father and his wide-eyed son are about to gun down an equally wide-eyed deer when they spot the crashed Predator vessel. An army of facehuggers escapes from the craft's shattered hull, and attacks the father and son from among the undergrowth.

Now, most films would probably have the kid escape this encounter, and maybe run back to his hometown and tell everyone about the aliens in the woods. If this were a 1950s B-movie, none of the townsfolk would believe him. But this is a 2000s B-movie, so the child watches as his father's arm is dowsed with acid and falls to the ground with a plop. As if this wasn't traumatic enough, both father and son are subdued and impregnated by facehuggers. Remarkably, this isn't even the worst bad-taste moment in the movie.

While the Pred-Alien and its retinue of facehuggers moves out into the Colorado countryside, the action shifts back to the Predator home planet. This should, in theory, be a monumental moment for the series, since it's our first glimpse of the alien hunters' world on the big screen. But because the plot's all unfolding so quickly, it barely even registers.

We're introduced to another Predator, who doesn't have a proper name in the film, so we'll call him Alan. Here he is: 

Alan's a kind of cleaner, evidence remover and alien detective, like a taller version of Harvey Keitel's character in Pulp Fiction, or Jean Reno in La Femme Nikita and Leon. Having received a distress signal from the crashed ship on Earth, he packs up all his high-tech stuff, clambers in his ultra-fast Predator vessel, and heads off to investigate. Go, Alan!

3. There are hobos and sewers

Like entropy, there's a law that governs all B-movies: terrible things always happen in sewers. In a combined seven entries, the Alien, Predator and AVP movies all managed to steer clear of them. Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem plunges into the effluent with relish, as the Pred-Alien and its scuttling army of facehuggers sets up a temporary dwelling in a drainage system.

Cheerfully sowing their evil seeds inside a group of homeless people, the facehuggers and their Pred-Alien leader build up their ranks of soldiers, ready to take over the sleepy town and its fleshy, unwary inhabitants. Weirdly, none of the aliens emerge with bits of loo paper stuck to them or anything.

4. Most of the film takes place in complete darkness

The dimly-lit locations in Alien Vs Predator were a common cause for complaint back in 2004. But compared to Requiem, Paul WS Anderson's AVP was positively glowing - a riot of colour, like Disney's Fantasia

We get the vague impression that some of the set designs might be quite good in Requiem, but it's almost impossible to tell - every scene takes place in almost total darkness, from the murky moments in the Colorado sewers near the beginning to the chaotic action at the end.

When Alan descends to Earth and follows a trail of acid to Gunnison's sewers, he shows off a range of different settings on his night vision goggles: he has heat vision, acid vision, aerial map vision, green vision, and blue x-ray vision. Not one of these settings makes it clear what's going on as he's trudging through the sewers and fighting aliens. For all the superior technology at his disposal, Alan would have been better off carrying a decent torch and a few spare sets of batteries.

5. A character (possibly) wears Ripley's dressing gown

Requiem's rapid-fire opening half introduces a bewildering array of characters. There's Dallas (his name being one of many, many Alien references), who's an ex-convict who's returned to his home town after four years in jail. There's Ricky, his pizza-delivering younger brother. There's Jessie, Ricky's love interest who has a horrible jock boyfriend, Dale, who in turn has at least three equally obnoxious sidekicks. Then we have former military helicopter pilot Kelly (played by 24's Reiko Aylesworth), her husband Tim, their young offspring Molly, who plays with night vision goggles and screams a lot. Plus there's Sheriff Eddie (John Ortiz), a waitress and a cook at a local diner whose names I've forgotten, plus assorted gun shop owners, military types and panicky men with guns.

Requiem introduces so many characters so quickly that it becomes difficult to mentally tag who all of them are. By the mid-point, Requiem's ushering in new characters a such a pace, they're not even named until after they've been killed. Rather than even bother with names, it's far easier to simply file all these characters away under two lists: those who are certain to die and those who aren't. Kelly, pictured above, belongs in the second category, and that's partly because she's this film's Ellen Ripley stand-in (with Molly as her wailing Newt analogue) - how can we tell? Because she's wearing Ripley's dressing gown from Aliens. Look: 

Disappointingly, she doesn't get to wear this while she's shooting aliens later in the film. [NB: Thanks to reader and Geek chum David Bullock for pointing out the Aliens dressing gown reference!]

6. Shane Black's character from Predator has a cameo - sort of

Okay, this one's a bit of a stretch, but it's a fun Predator nerd fact. In the scene illustrated above, you can clearly see a gravestone with Hawkins engraved into it. This is a reference to the character of the same name from Predator, played by Shane Black before he became a Hollywood screenwriting celebrity and the director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3. Here he is, bless him. 

Well, we thought it was interesting.

7. Alan makes a swimming pool full of water vanish

During the course of his investigations, Alan occasionally pulls out a flask of blue liquid, which he pours on assorted dead aliens, facehuggers and their victims. Like a kind of magic acid, it causes them to disappear, implying that Alan's intent on covering up all evidence of the xenomorphs' existence for some reason. But weirdly, he has a habit of leaving other bits of evidence behind himself; when he's spotted by a local cop in the woods, Alan quickly kills the luckless lawman and leaves his skinned body hanging in a tree.

It's as though Alan has a job to do, but keeps getting distracted by his own hunting instincts. He's like a soldier on a mission behind enemy lines who can't resist stopping every so often to do a spot of fishing, or maybe shoot a squirrel.

In one exceedingly odd scene, horny teenagers Ricky and Jessie break into a swimming pool, and are about to indulge in a spot of skinny dipping when they're attacked by swimming aliens. Alan then turns up, kills the aliens and pours his blue liquid into the pool, causing both the aliens and several gallons of water to disappear.

What's Alan up to? Our best guess is that he's worried about ruining the Alien series' continuity. If the puny Earthlings get wind of the xenomorphs' existence, then the crew of the Nostromo might be less likely to accidentally stumble on them when they visit LV-426 in several decades' time. This means that everything that happened to Ripley and the rest of her crew was all a huge practical joke, with Alan no doubt chuckling at the thought of it.

8. The Pred-Alien kisses a pregnant woman

Throughout the second half of the film, the Pred-Alien and its soldiers pop up all over town. They attack a waitress in a diner, and it's revealed that, for some reason, this particular breed of xenomorphs can leave several eggs in one victim. As the waitress's torso bursts open, a litter of about four or five chestbursters issues forth. The most obvious explanation for this is that, in Requiem's compressed story, these fecund facehuggers will provide more cannon fodder for the heroes to shoot at the end.

The greater question, though, is this: if all the aliens came scuttling out of the sewer, can't people smell them before they see them? Sure, they're quiet and stealthy, but you'd think someone would mention the hideous stench before they pounce. This could even have been a fun plot point in the final act: "If it stinks, shoot it."

As the makers of Requiem gleefully probe at the outer reaches of bad taste, the xenomorphs advance on a hospital. In one grotesque scene, the floppy-haired Pred-Alien leans over a heavily pregnant woman, and gives her a huge and decidedly unwelcome French kiss. It's an example of Requiem's tendency to go for cheap, button-pushing shocks rather than flesh-crawling horror. For example, a xenomorph emerging from a victim's bottom would be something new for the Alien franchise, but it wouldn't necessarily leave audiences quaking in fear.

Thinking about it, that'll probably be something we can look forward to if AVP3 ever happens.

9. An alien menaces a little girl through a bedroom window

Aliens have always had a habit of leaping out of dark places, but never to such a comic effect as here. Newt stand-in Molly is at her bedroom window when she suddenly spots something toothsome in the trees outside. Hearing her screams, Molly's mother and father (that's Tim and former helicopter pilot Kelly, remember?) attempt to placate her.

"See?" Tim says, confidently. "No monster." Before Molly has the chance to say, "Yes there sodding well is," the ghoul's already leapt through the window and eaten her father's face. Molly and Kelly, understandably, leg it.

10. The heroes have to "get to the chopper"

The rest of Requiem unfolds like a combination of teen slasher flick and Dawn Of The Dead, as the town becomes overrun by smelly monsters and a dwindling group of humans tries to find a way out. It's all pure B-movie nonsense, you've probably realised, but there are certain scenes that are quite enjoyable for their sheer tackiness. There are lots of exploding body parts, for one thing, including a bit where an argument over a cigarette leaves one chap without a head. Yet even as an exercise in juvenile schlock, Requiem's derailed not only by its muddled storytelling and identikit characters, but also its slavish devotion to the other, better films in the series.

Every major character has a tie to another one from an earlier movie. Shots, sequences and even individual sound effects are packed into the curiously short running time - there's even a bit with a shower curtain that apes Alien 3. By the time someone yells, "Get to the chopper!", a line once immortalised by one Arnold Schwarzenegger, Requiem simply becomes a reminder of how far the franchise had fallen since its height in the 1980s.

Like a bowl of fruit, a shiny car or the sun, the Alien and Predator franchises were the sad victims of entropy, dissolving like a corpse drizzled with Alan's blue disappearing juice.

Mind you, Requiem does have a bit where a character says, "Are you looking at me or the clock?" And for that, we should probably be begrudgingly grateful.

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I was so looking forward to this. One of the biggest let downs in recent genre film history. So sad. Great article though, at least some good came from that abomination....

You need to do "10 remarkable things about the Boys from Brazil". Actually,can I do that?

Excellent article...always good to start a day sniggering over the granola.

One remarkable thing that you left out was that it even got made!

I went to see it before i knew about DoG or RT. Me and my bros took the front row. This movie is like that one guy in your school who is begging for a punch in the face.

Um... Doesn't Ripley wear a dressing gown at the start of Aliens (when Burke and Gorman come to her apartment)...?

You're absolutely right. I'd completely forgotten about that. Article updated, with a credit to you!

Great article but the cherry on the top is that you called him Alan...that made me spit out my coffee!

Thank you for this article, it brightened my morning commute. I'm amazed at how much I remember of the film considering I haven't seen it since it was released. I don't remember it being so dark though, but then I was 15 at the time.
I always wondered if the AVP films are set in the same continuity as the Alien and Predator series. I assume people here are familiar with the idea that this is also the same universe as Blade Runner and Firefly/Serenity?

I hated this film. Granted my wife had only recently given birth to my daughter. So the timing of watching some of the scenes in this prbably didn't help.
.
But the 16 year old me would have loved it ..................... and yes I was an idiot at 16.

I hope Alan's middle name is Victor. Alan V Predator has a certain ring to it

Hated this film so much. Not only was it dark and hard to see what the hell was going on... but also I recall the sound being awful - really, really quiet spells, then suddenly über loud bits, then suddenly quiet again so you couldn't hear what people were saying, meaning my finger was constantly on the volume control of the remote... and aside from that, just a bad film - don't recall much of a plot, just lots of gore and effects...

Re: Sewers, didn't Newt in Aliens fall into a sewer and get taken by an alien, it was at least a kinda like a sewer, below the main walkways, half filled with water.

And yes Requiem was a film without a lighting budget, at very least though they tried to tie the darkness into the story by blowing up the power station.

I wonder if Hawkins had his pu**y joke as his epitaph :D

This was such a truly craptacular film I didn't even offload my copy of the DVD to Oxfam - I just binned it.

I'm surprised there was no honorary mention of the "Ms. Yutani" nonsense tacked on at the end.

My biggest flaw was when the Predator ship crashed, it went over the father and sons head, hit the top of a mountain, then crashed on the other side. Cut to the boy saying "It's just over here!" Talk about fast forwarding, that would've been a days walk!

Also, why did Alan skin the cop? Surely the cleaner wouldn't be on the hunt with such urgency over protecting his holiday home.

My theory is, he was thinking it would give the human authorities something to be busy with, and create even more space for him to do his Cleaning thing. 'Oh noes! A mad serial killer on the loose! Aliens? What? Shut up, there's a looney to catch!'

My favorite memory of watching this film is when the kid delivers some pizza to the cool kids party and asks for $78, someone at the back of the theatre incredulously cried out "for four pizzas!!!"

All of the blood they left out of AVP was put into this film....I think. It is hard to tell for sure....since it is so dark. The cinematographer is actually known for this. Pathfinder is a good example.

I searched this comments for this to see if I was alone in thinking it. It absolutely counts as a sewer!

I really like this film, hell I have a soft spot for all the alien/predator/avp movies except alien 3. The thing that really struck me as special though in requiem was when they suddenly killed the female love interest, that made me very happy. Finally! I almost shouted, what makes the female love interest so important that she must always survive, and have others risk their lives for her. Nothing, that's what, it was a great way to subvert our expectations, which they did repeatedly in that movie and why it sticks out so much to me.

To me, the scene where Newt is just standing there hip deep in water as the Alien emerges behind her is as iconic as it gets

haha this is a brilliant article, can we have more of this sacastic looks at terrible movies pls.

I enjoyed Requiem a lot more than the first AvP. Mind you I'm one of the few who thought Predator 2 was more fun than it's overrated predecessor.

I think naming him Alan will make this film immeasurably better if I ever rewatch it.

Which I won't.

What about the dun-dun-dun 'Ms Yutani' ending?

While Daniel C. Pearl does employ very dark photography, at least his other films were viewable. I'm not sure if there's truth in this but I read an online article years ago where someone involved in the making of claimed the directors deliberately lowered the opacity in post production.

Hahahahahaha... made me LOL especially the totally dark scenes. WTF were they thinking????

The first time I watched this film was on a big screen protection TV. I thought the TV lights had gone out since I couldn't see half the film. Little did I know the TV was fine and the film was filmed in black with no white. lol

It's better than Prometheus, though.

I read when this came out that "Alan" Predator was actually nicknamed Wolf by the directors...

The best thing was calling him Alan...slayed me! I affectionately refer to the predator as "Kevin". I have the 90s action figures & my son would ask what each predators name was & they are all "Kevin"!

Hahaha

And very scary

The one time no one got mad for someone talking during a movie

They really might as well make alien vs predator vs terminator instead of the new terminator movies that I will probably never watch. They all killed bill Paxton anyway. In fact, he can be the hero. And at the end, when he's the last person on earth, the Predalien Queen Gary Busey 1000 can facehug him with that extra jaw he has, wrap him in a razor net, and send him forward into the past, where John Connor bursts out of his chest and saves the world.

Ooh, maybe the blue goo the predator has is made from the black goo the engineers had! dun dun dun!

haha, suddenly I'm thinking that the better result of giant squid + engineer would = first predator! Now that would've made Prometheus better!

Now that sounds like better script writing than AVPR had!

there's 2 remember

:)

Not the worst film i'ver seen. I do remember going to see Alien 3 at the pictures (I was 15 so it must have been a 15) and sitting next to my pal who had seen the film the day before. So i got a running commentry of a film that i felt wasn't that good.

That scene was atrocious. I hate that movie.

It's full of iconic shots. That PowerLoader bit? My God.

It's amusing how the Strause bros we're really proud of the fact they were making an R-rated movie unlike the first AvP, and it just turned out to be sadistic. I'm referring to the maternity ward scene and when the boy gets chestbursted. Nothing against violence which I find essential to a A/P film anyhoo, but I mean some of that stuff was just gore for gore's sake. I don't really mind AVPR too much but it is impossible to watch because it's so damn... dark. GET SOME FRIGGIN LIGHTING PEEPS.

You can even see how the screenshots here have been manually turned brighter so we can see what the heck is going on.

Spot on about being filmed in almost total darkness. The end tie-in was cool and it was still a million miles better then Alien3 imo.

James Cameron's script for Aliens describes it as a sub-basement that happened to be filled up with water, so I've never really thought of it as a sewer before.

Most amazing fact for me is they got the backing to make another pile of rubbish after the lump that was Alien Vs Predator. But now this is out classed by the massive mega bucks a bad movie can make such as Iron Man 3. When will we stop rewarding Hollywood for taking something good and taking a big old dump on it..

To be perfectly honest I've never really been sure what happened in this movie because it is so poorly shot and lit that I couldn't tell. But there is one thing that I do think Requiem captured rather well; The absolute nightmare it would be if the Alien ever made it to Earth. It would be awful. Its a pity that nobody has ever been able to make a movie that would show the nightmare of having a xenomorph make it to Earth. Other than that the movie was unwatchable.

The predator character is actually named Wolf. That's what the Strause bros called him also when they still posted on IMDb before the film was released. After that they didn't return.

I know I'm one of the few people who actually liked this film.
Its not cinematic gold obviously BUT I think I understand what the film makers were trying to do. After AVP(Which I thought started off decently then ended in a mess) I needed another AVP attempt. They gave it an "R" rating and tried to bring some iconic shoutouts for the fans. Overall I graded the film at a C+. AVP 3 probably does not need to be attempted but if it is.. Someone call Robert Rodriguez. Predators was a decent flick...

Fair enough, not read the script myself. Given the pipework and water I just assumed it was Hadley's Hopes sewage system

One thing I love about this movie is that "Alan" could have kicked all three predator's asses from the first movie all by himself. "Alan" was badass.

It was bad when you take it in context for the movies it is based on. This is an Alien movie guest starring Alan. If you look at it as just another horror movie, it's still bad but certainly not as bad as some of the tripe out there, Wrong Turn 5 comes to mind!

If you look at it as a fan film with a budget, it's not that bad at all (this is how i tend to look at it)

You are wrong... his name is Alan!

I actually like Alien 3. The making of is fascinating as the director went through development and studio hell while making it. In my eyes he did pretty well!

You're a hero for sitting through this. I made it as far as the man and his son getting facehugged in a forest in the first five/ten minutes before switching it off.

AVP 1 was bad, not terrible, but not good, either. It had some great showdowns between the monsters though. AVP-R was dreadful. The bad lighting was actually a good thing, it helped disguise just how terrible the whole thing was, however, the Predailen was cool, and the Wolf predator was great. A good character in a bad film. Nevertheless, as a long time Pred/Alien fanboy, I find both these films infinitely superior to the absolute muck that is Prometheus,. The AVP films damaged the reputation of the iconic creatures and films, but Prometheus destroyed the legacy that is Alien. I mean think about it, Alien is nowhere near as scary and "alien" as we were led to believe because, Naomi Rapace is the proto xeno's grandma! Prometheus made the whole Alien legacy, redundant. And the guy who started it in the first place, is responsible for it's destruction. I'd take AVP 3, any day, over Prometheus 2, which I hear is being written, as I type. God help us all.

Can't agree more on the Prometheus rant. I was talking about this last night, why didn't they just make it the pods were not filled with goo but facehuggers. like the Engineers were harvesting them for weapon use or something. Then it becomes a proper Alien movie instead of pretending to not be one!

They could've watched the holograms show one of the engineers is caught, an alien bursts out of him and disappears, they don't know where it went. Then at the end of the movie, the engineer they woke up takes off in his ship. The camera pans down to the cargo bay to reveal all of the eggs and a dead queen (old age). Just before the credits roll, one of the eggs opens...

Anyways, this is a AVPR thread. The makers seem to ignore what has been laid down for the predator already. In the first Predator movie he moves about the trees almost silently. In AVPR every time he drops from a tree it's like he's jumped from orbit! The camera even shakes as he makes an impact. He also does weird things (skins people alive for no reason) but you can't blame Alan for that, the writers are to blame!

Which version of Alien 3? The Assembly Cut remastered on blu ray is a fine film. Like Daredevil, the additional half hour makes a huge difference. Far more coherent for a start.

Yes they killed the love interest in 'Requiem, so what? They also killed a load of babies, probably everyone's pets too. The idea that pregnant women could support more alien offspring than say, a larger animal or a tubby fella was another astounding low for this film. On the plus side it's no longer canon, and that even though it turned a profit Fox nixed a sequel, which is really saying something. I do agree that it subverts expectations- after a decent trailer I expected a half decent film. Nope. The nadir of both series.

For me, AvP was b-grade movie fun. Pyramids in Antarctica? Sweet! A climax in an abandoned whaling station? Awesome! Requiem was an abomination. Even Skyline was better than Requiem.

With some tweaks the first AvP could have been pretty good. The basic story borrows heavily from "At the Mountains of Madness", which could have given us something as effective as "The Thing".

Yes, i totally agree with the Lovecraft comparison. And the b-movie trashiness was enough to separate it from the respective franchises for me.

TBH Prometheus warrants no examination or comment. It's such an abortion of movie and Ridley Scott has no morals. Woo-hah!

Just goes to show, give some people a camera and they think their Stanley Kubrick. Perhaps Colin and Greg Strause (dark movie team) could team up with JJ Abrams (bright movie director) and they could then properly expose some movie film? OR they could get w/Ridley Scott and learn how to direct a movie.

I grew up with the Alien and Predator movies and I still really enjoyed AVPR! Wolf is the name of the Predator in this movie and he was the coolest Predator to ever be on film. I also liked the Pred-Alien, I could do without the teen drama and having to turn the brightness up to the max to see properly, but I still really enjoyed it and people are gonna say I'm crazy now, but I liked it better than Predators and it was way better than the first AVP too

what kind of an excuse is "everything get's worse" exactly?!?!

wtf "good b movie" fun is what i expect from the rocky horror show??!?! this is the alien franchise :P

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