DECOYS

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Decoys
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DECOYS - 2004
Space Productions/Telefilm Canada/Lion's Gate Films
Rating: Canada: 14A / USA: R

Hot sorority alien babes! It practically writes itself!

DECOYS was directed by Matthew Hastings (BLOODSUCKERS [TV], VAMPIRE HIGH [TV]) and written by Mr. Hastings and Tom Berry. It opens on Halloween in some snowy small town (this was filmed in Ottawa). A young man carrying flowers walks past costumed children out trick or treating and knocks on the door of his girlfriend (presumably). No one answers so he just walks in and finds two other men, both dead and apparently frozen. We see him turn and ask someone what is going on.

Cut to St. John's College where a couple of young guys are putting up a banner announcing the annual Ice Queen contest. The boys are Luke (Corey Sevier) and Roger (Elias Toufexis: BLOODSUCKERS [TV]), roommates and best friends. They head back to the dorm and are doing laundry when in come a couple of new girls: Lilly (Stefanie von Pfetten: MURDER AT THE PRESIDIO) and Constance (Kim Poirier: DAWN OF THE DEAD [2004], AMERICAN PSYCHO 2). Both are perfect blonde model types and both come on strong to the two boys. After they leave Luke notices the girls left a small personal item behind and uses the excuse to go to their room.

The girls don't answer the door so Luke just walks in (is this a Canadian thing? If I'm not home you are NOT allowed to just walk in!) and takes a moment to smell some of the girls' nightwear. Of course they arrive right then so he hides in a closet. From there he watches what looks like will be some girl-girl action as the two get naked. But the reason for the nudity is so one can spray liquid nitrogen on the other girl's tentacles (why they both had to be naked for that is something I didn't question at the time). Then the two (we now know) alien babes put on t-shirts and panties and decide to visit a friend down the hall, allowing Luke to escape.

So Luke's role in this alien invasion movie formula is clear: he's The One Who Knows. He immediately shares the news with his buddy Roger and their friends Gibby (Enis Esmer), a headphone wearing hip-hop wannabe, and Alex (Meghan Ory: VAMPIRE HIGH [TV]), a beautiful brunette being ignored by her blonde-obsessed male friends. It becomes clear early on that Alex has a thing for Luke but he thinks of her as one of the guys.

No one believes Luke's naked chick with tentacles story, of course. Especially not Roger, who is crazy about Constance and plans on losing his virginity to her. Luke is positive about what he saw and enlists Alex to help him investigate, but by the next morning he manages to talk himself out of it, ascribing what he saw to all the beer he'd had that night.

Then the first body is found. A boy Luke had gotten into a fight with, over Lilly, is found dead in the woods, frozen stiff in more ways than one, and the coroner discovers he'd been frozen from the inside out. The cops take Luke in for questioning, the cops being detective Amanda Watts (Nicole Eggert: SUBMERGED, OMEGA SYNDROME) and detective Francis Kirk (Richard Burgi: TORN APART, CELLULAR, STARSHIP TROOPERS 2, THE SENTINEL [TV]). Amanda is the good cop, sympathetic toward Luke and Francis is the hard ass bad cop who takes an instant dislike for the boy.

Now Luke is convinced the aliens are real and they're killing horny guys. Will he be able to convince others and save the day? Will he and Alex ever get together? Will there be a really stupid twist ending?

I won't tell you any of that but I will tell you this is a surprisingly good movie. It has no illusions of grandeur, understanding that it's a silly B sci-fi flick with lots of gratuitous nudity. There's plenty of humor and lots of nice touches, like as the characters walk down a dormitory hallway we see them pass a bulletin board with a bunch of missing persons flyers.

Not that there aren't any problems. But before I get to them let's pause for a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
We find out that these girls aren't just randomly killing guys for fun - they're attempting to mate with them. The fact that the implanted embryos end up immediately killing their male hosts is a disappointment to the girls, but they figure with enough experimentation they'll get it right. Normally, I'd dismiss that as stupid since there isn't a single animal on Earth capable of crossbreeding with humans (and all life on Earth is based on DNA), so the idea of successfully crossbreeding with an alien life form with a completely different evolutionary history and a vastly different biochemistry is astronomically unlikely. Unless, of course, you're from an advanced alien civilization with a good knowledge of exobiology and have done this sort of thing before. Then maybe it would just take some genetic engineering and some unwilling test subjects.

One thing I didn't like is how poor Nicole Eggert was so underused. Richard Brugi didn't do much better but Eggert is given the most lackluster lines and no opportunity to do any acting. If you're going to hire some of the better B movie stars, why waste them?

I also hated the predictable twist ending. I knew there had to be one - that's part of the formula - but you don't have to make such an obvious choice. The creativity I'd liked through most of the movie seemed to drain away at the end. So in response I have to drain away a few points and give DECOYS three shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2005 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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