31 December 2015


The Device. Starring Angela DiMarco, David S. Hogan and Kate Alden, written by Jeremy Berg and John Portanova, produced and directed by Jeremy Berg. Ruthless Films 2015. Certificate 15. .

The cover photos and illustrations and the BBFC classification make this seem a much more interesting film, with a far bigger special effects budget, than it actually has. The front cover shows a naked young woman crouching over a ball-like model of the Moon. Out of her back snake various cables. The back cover show an expanding bubble of unreality exploding down a main street, in the centre of which walks a threatening alien figure. Neither of these images actually appear in the movie.
The cables suggest that what you're going to see is something like the episode in Babylon 5, where the station's crew discover the victims of the alien's surgery in order to turn them into the living cores of alien warships. They are compelled to merge with machinery, and so appear cocooned amidst a mass of cables and circuits. Nothing like this occurs in the movie.

As for The Device, it's pretty much a smooth, black bowling ball, with a sharp flange that draws its victims' blood. It's definitely less impressive than I expected from the cover art.

Two sisters go on holiday to a cabin in the woods. They see a UFO, and pick up the titular Device, which draws the heroine's blood. Her husband also scratches himself on it. Over the next few weeks, the heroine experiences increasing dreams of being visited at night time by an alien Grey, while her husband becomes more irrational and prone to violence. The UFO visitations continue. During a return to the cabin, the husband runs out after a UFO, only to be killed by something. The heroine finds herself pregnant, and on the advice of her sister consults a former doctor, who left medicine after he treated he string of mysteriously pregnant women like her and saw their monstrous births. When he finds out the poor woman is one of them, he angrily flings her out. The young woman later on gives birth. Peering down at the swaddled bundle, she screams. The end.

It's clearly a low budget, straight to DVD film, and quite formulaic. The cabin in woods has become something of a horror cliché, ever since one of Romero's zombie movies. It's been treated as such in the postmodern horror film, The Cabin in the Woods, which plays with and subverts horror films and their monsters. It's also extremely derivative of the X-Files' episodes dealing with humans made pregnant with alien hybrid babies as part of their breeding programme. And like those episodes of the X Files, it's based solidly on the Abduction Myth. It doesn't have the TV series' bigger budget, nor its wit and willingness to play with genre conventions. And unlike the X-Files, you only ever see one alien. It does, however, show how strong the influence of the abduction Myth is, that decades after Streiber's Communion and the X-Files, film makers still want to make movies about it, even if only low budget flicks like this. -- David Sivier

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