Underrated Alien-Invasion Flicks You Should Watch Instead of 'Pixels'
The idea behind Pixels seemed like it could make for a fun movie—aliens imitating ‘80s video game characters in a grand attempt to invade Earth—but to say the film fell short of its potential would be a monolithic understatement. The greatest effects budget in the world couldn’t save such uninspired performances and such an obvious lack of cast chemistry. But don’t you worry: we've got a list of alien-invasion flicks that never received nearly enough love. Check these out instead and save yourself the money.
'The Darkest Hour'
This movie is like The Goonies, Ghostbusters, and Stand By Me all rolled into one. If that doesn’t grab you, it’s also written by Jon Spaihts, who wrote the original draft of Prometheus and is writing Doctor Strange, and it stars Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad), Olivia Thirby (Dredd), and Max Minghella (The Internship).
This spoof of X-Files, and the alien invasion genre in general, is an Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) classic, even if the box office numbers didn't reflect that. David Duchovny is re-casted as a mock version of his popular Mulder character, while Julianne Moore (Children of Men) nails a clumsy Scully.
'Attack The Block'
When aliens attack the hood, the hood strikes back. In this flick, a group of South London teens turn out to be Earth's first line of defense against the extraterrestrial invaders. This is the moment when Hollywood first noticed John Boyega, who will be playing Finn, the Stormtrooper gone rogue, in the aforementioned Star Wars trilogy.
This movie is weird in a way that it couldn’t have been made anywhere but Japan—we're talking Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) levels of weirdness. Based on the popular manga by Hiroya Oku, Gantz tells the story of people snatched from their everyday lives to take up battle with aliens hiding among us.
Special-effects wizards the Strause Bros. have wowed us with movie magic on films like Avengers, Looper, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Skyline was their second directorial outing and a chance to prove they were more than FX whizzes. Unfortunately, it flopped. And while the plot left something to be desired (UFOs with tractor beams that suck you up if you stare at them), the effects are top notch and should have been worth the price of admission alone.
Sure, everybody knows Gareth Edwards now that he did Godzilla and is working on the first ever Star Wars Anthology film, Rogue One, but this young director's debut feature film was an alien-invasion flick that dealt in tension and suspense rather than effects and shock value. This film featured more of the aftermath of an alien invasion, than the actual aliens themselves.
In the aftermath of the murder of Trayvon Martin, 20th Century Fox found themselves in a bit of a sticky situation with the unfortunately topical Neighborhood Watch. They decided to change the film’s name to The Watch, but even then, the studio lacked faith in the film, believing it unable to weather the public’s perception of the project as trying to capitalize off a tragedy. But come on, it featured two of the best comedic camps of our generation: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Goon) wrote it, and their homie Jonah Hill stars alongside the tried-and-true duo of Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.
Before he brought us the surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy or the ultra-violent ode to capes and spandex, Super, James Gunn graced the world with a little beauty named Slither. A winner with horror fans everywhere, this alien-invasion movie features some of the most creative gore ever put to celluloid.
The Arrival is equal parts V and Contact, but you gotta give dues to director-producer Rober Zemeckis, since it actually came out a year before Contact jacked the whole SETI angle. Also, it stars Charlie Sheen—or more accurately, a goatee’d Charlie Sheen—and includes some pretty awesome alien designs.