Film Monthly Home
Archives
Wayne Case
Interviews
Steve Anderson
The Rant
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
The Indies
Horror
Film Noir
Coming Soon
Now Playing
Television
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Interviews TV

Decoys

Directed by Matthew Hastings

Written by Matthew Hastings, Tom Berry

Starring Corey Sevier, Stefanie von Pfetten, Kim Poirier, Elias Toufexis

Produced by Franco Battista

Rated R

95 minutes

Time to go back to those crazy days of college with Decoys! Parties with heavy drinking, occasional lesbianism, and aliens that eat human DNA!

To start off, the DVD menu is a little on the drab side. While the box art is certainly appealing, mostly because it captures the intent of the film so well, just putting the box art on the DVD menu has been done to death. It’s so unoriginal that it loses any appeal that it may have had.

But the film itself is what we’re truly after here, so let’s have a look.

Decoys is the story of a fellow who comes home one Halloween night to find the house a little colder than he expected. A LOT colder. So cold that his roommates seem to have frozen to death. IN the house.

Then, for reasons that are utterly unfathomable, we shift off to another college where a couple of very attractive pre-med coeds who like the cold have just moved into a freshman dorm.

And if you’ve spent any time in a freshman dorm recently, you know that this spells a whole herd of horny teenage guys who should be making asses out of themselves to get noticed.

But these chicks aren’t the norm.

They have tentacles that sprout from their spines.

They also have a thing for liquid nitrogen.

The first thing you notice right off is at the nineteen minute, eighteen second mark. There’s a hot blonde coed on stage next to the school’s hockey captain at a sorority rush mixer with booze for all. And what does a random wit in the audience shriek?

“Give him a kiss!”

Obviously someone put a lot of research into this script. Because no one would EVER suggest anything stronger than THAT at a college party. No one would EVER be so crass as to suggest that the young lady part with some clothing…say…her top? Never.

The rest of the movie spreads outward like a fairly standard alien murder mystery kind of deal. Our steadily dwindling Scooby Gang searches for answers to the great mystery of who are these tentacle chicks, where do they come from, what do they want on their pizza, that they have a serious and debilitating fear of fire, so on and so forth, on into video eternity.

While there are some terribly amusing special effects—especially the tentacles that show up on a regular basis—we all know that special effects alone do not a movie make. The plot is all the more important, and it’s not actively offensive. It’s fairly standard stuff. Yes, they’re distracting from clichés and obvious holes in the plot and horrific dialogue featuring phrases like “To finally uncover them for who they truly are.” with tons of nudity and huge and impressive…tracts of LAND…every few minutes (Monty Python fans should get that right off.).

It’s obvious the overt displays of strategic and ample portions of the female anatomy are designed to draw our attention away from a plot with a far lower endowment than the female leads.

But you know what? This is somehow all right. This is an old cliché that hearkens back to the bad old flood-the-market eighties, where every third slasher film was a race to see how fast the female lead could get her top off. It’s almost a homage.

And yes, we’ve got our share of annoyances. Annoyances like “Gibby.” Gibby is our standard rap star gone insane, spouting all the latest shiznits and off the hook’s enough for any three useless wannabes.

The ending is a real barnburner, and I mean that LITERALLY. Wait until you see the last fifteen minutes of Decoys. There are all manner of twists, turns, amusing sidebars, puns, and flamethrowers. Seriously! It’s worth it! It is an EXCELLENT ending, with fantastic twists. Easily one of the best I’ve seen in quite some time.

The special features include English (for once!) subtitles, a making of featurette and trailers for “Asylum of the Damned,” “Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation” (it should be noted here that they included the entire title, and the appropriate kudos should be given for this show of respect), “Hellboy,” “Kaena: The Prophecy,” “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra,” and “Everquest 2.” Surprisingly, there is no trailer for “Decoys,” a normally standard feature not included.

All in all, despite some hackeneyed dialogue and a rather predictable plotline, Decoys overcomes its handicaps to emerge as a fairly solid title.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


Got a problem? E-mail us at filmmonthly@gmail.com