11th Nov2020

‘Attack of the Unknown’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Richard Grieco, Jolene Andersen, Douglas Tait, Robert LaSardo, Tara Reid, Paul Gunn, Gerardo de Pablos, Clay Trimble, Robert Donavan, Johnny Huang, King Jeff, Rich R. Rendon, Elizabeth Noelle Japhet | Written by Brandon Slagle, Michael Mahal, Sonny Mahal | Directed by Brandon Slagle

After apprehending vicious crime syndicate boss Hades (the always awesome Robert LaSardo), LA SWAT team leader Vernon (Grieco) and his team are transporting him to his final location – county lock-up. However Vernon and his team find themselves trapped inside of the county detention centre, the world burning around them as an alien invasion engulfs Los Angeles. With no communication with the outside world Vernon, his team, AND crime boss Hades, must band together to escape the bloodthirsty alien forces attacking them.

Yes folks, we’re in Assault on Precinct 13 territory once again with Attack of the Unknown… Only this time the invaders are other-worldly bug-like aliens out to suck the blood, literally, of the human race. Aliens who have apparently been here before and are responsible for the disappearance of communities and colonies throughout human history. We’re getting farmed for fluids on the regular according to this film!

Unfortunately that comparison, between John Carpenter’s classic genre film and Attack of the Unknown will only do harm to co-writer and director Brandon Slagle’s film. After all that’s a HUGE reputation to live up to, even if this film probably had a bigger budget than Carpenter’s film. A budget that was obviously spent on the alien creatures… Well spent may I add; the practical effects really selling this one much more than CGI creatures ever would. Hell, I’d even go as far as saying the fact we have rubber-suited monsters adds to the overall aesthetic of the film – we’re definitely in B-movie territory here, even if star Richard Greico seems to be acting like this is a serious melodramatic action flick!

And that’s one of the films problems. Too much time is spent on the drama. First on the police sting on Hades; then on dealing with the death of a SWAT team member, then even revealing Vernon’s illness… There’s too much melodrama and not enough insane alien invasion story. As such Attack of the Unknown is a lot less fun than it should be. A film like this should be an action-adventure romp as cops take on aliens in massive gunfights. Slagle’s film is not – instead its a brief scene of an alien attack on one or two of the people trapped in the detention centre, followed by Greico and co. wandering around looking for the aliens ad nauseam.

I get it. The budget probably dictated what we see on screen so things have to be kept tight. So whilst were in that confined situation, trapped within the walls of the detention centre, we get what we’re given. Something that may disappoint. But then comes the epic conclusion which, despite running a mere 15 minutes and coming right at the end of the film (which to be fair could have been trimmed down so we got tho the finale quicker) and you realise why the budget was kept low during the police station invasion… More aliens, a huge spaceship and a finale that takes this Assault on Precinct 13 homage into Alien territory – complete with a badass female hero in actress Jolene Andersen!

Attack of the Unknown is definitely slow burn film but one that pays off in the end, wrapping up the plot threads, including revealing why we spent so much time on the drama, leaving the story open for a possible sequel – and one that I’d happily check out should it come to fruition.

Attack of the Unknown is out on VOD now from Gravitas Ventures.


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