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Silent Warnings

Staring: Stephen "I have idea how he got top billing considering the size of his part" Baldwin, A.J. Buckley and Billy "Vin Diesel stole my schtick" Zane.

Written by: Kevin Gendreau and Christian MacIntire, while MacIntire and one Bill Lundy did the screenplay.

Directed by: Christian MacIntire.

This movie was put out by a company called, correctly enough, "Sci Fi Pictures" (can I get a job?) who have done some movies you may have heard of such as Firestarter: Rekindled, Dog Soldiers (which I have actually seen) and Alien Hunter (staring James Spader) as well as a myriad of films which include at least the names "Frank Herbert’s Dune", "Battlestar Galactica" and "Babylon 5".

I would be tempted to call this a "B plus" movie and I enjoyed it. I enjoy most sci-fi (no matter how bad) so don’t be fooled into thinking that this was a great movie or anything: it wasn’t. But it was entertaining.

Basically it was Mel Gibson’s Signs with less of a budget, lower end stars and more interaction between the crop-circle building aliens and the humans. This movie is about a bunch of college kids who get stuck in a farm house formally owned by Stephen Baldwin’s character (who thankfully dies during the intro and only pops up briefly on a video-tape later on) and now owned by his cousin, A.J. Buckley. (As a side not: Does giving Stephen Baldwin top billing actually entice anyone to rent movies?).

Buckley and his budding buddies are there to clean up the place for sale and they slowly figure out that maybe uncle Baldwin did not die merely under mysterious circumstances (as sheriff Billy Zane informs them) but had a run in with actual aliens. Of course, by the time the kiddies figure out what is really going on they have dismantled all of Baldwin’s anti-alien devices and have left themselves open for attack. To borrow a phrase from a good friend of mine: Chaos ensues.

The story for this movie was actually pretty tight. It was simple but it made sense the whole way through and, while the characters were not deep, no one did anything that could not be reasonably justified. There were no real loose ends or attempts by the makers to avoid describing potentially important points that would require too much screen time and it moved along quite nicely.

The special effects were laughable. The house had obviously been built as a set piece (you could just see how un-house-like it looked, flimsy almost), the crop circles were circles but that is where the similarity ended (apparently the makers could not afford the time, money or patience to make them appear authentic) and the aliens were pretty lame (but scary-ish none the less). On the other hand (Stephen Baldwin and Billy Zane excepted) the acting was all right and was certainly above the level of most movies who draft their actors out of nowhere.

Stephen Baldwin can not act and I am going to leave it at basically that. The man obviously tries hard and has been in a LOT of movies (many of which I have enjoyed) but in my opinion, his inability to act is just the bottom line of any discussion about him.

Billy Zane was in Titanic (which I did not - and will not ever - see) he was also in Phantom (ibid.) He was also in Sniper (but I do not remember him) and played himself in Zoolander, which is what he essentially does here. Despite the fact that his part pretty much could have been played by a stunt double and a Billy Zane cardboard cutout, he was okay. If he was a personal friend of mine I would say he was amazing. He, however, is not a personal friend of mine and he wasn’t amazing but I hope that gives you an idea of how I viewed his level of performance. Certainly one distracting thing about him is that I constantly felt that he probably took a big hit when Vin Diesel came out and became a bigger and better Billy Zane.

Overall, the movie was good. No real overlying message or theme other than the standard horror/sci-fi stuff about the importance of communication, trusting your friends and not running off to do things on your own when people are dying or disappearing.

I would suggest this movie if you are a sci-fi fan or a horror fan and appreciate a movie that seems like you and your friends could have put it together. Of course, if it seems that way, you’re lying to yourself. You and your friends could not make this movie (unless you and your friends are movie makers) and, in all honesty, Stephen Baldwin is probably a better actor than I would be (but maybe not). Still, this is a movie that feels a lot like you and your friends could have made it and that, to me at least, simply adds to the fun.

This would make a good rental if you can’t find anything else on the shelf and I would tell you to avoid it at the theatres but I doubt it was ever seen in one.

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