Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Can Invade My Theater Any Day

As far as unpopular opinions go, I know this one has likely caught a few people off-guard. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)  is almost universally hated. It currently has only a 12% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, a 29 Metascore on Metacritic, and a 1.7 average review on Letterboxd. It’s a film most often found relegated to the bottom of a Wal-Mart DVD bargain bin. Whenever I talk about it, most people roll their eyes and tell me it’s stupid. But, just because it’s dumb doesn’t mean it isn’t any fun. More than that, AVP: Requiem is a beautifully brutal horror film made for B-movie horror fanatics like me. Despite the bad reviews and all the hate, I firmly believe AVP: Requiem is a midnight movie stud. Of course, everyone I talk to tells me this is an insane hill to die on. They may be right, but I remain steadfast. 

A boy watches a man screams in agony as a creature bursts from his chest in Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem

So, let me explain my mindset. I finished Prey the other night and was pumped. It’s arguably the best standalone Predator film since the first (or possibly the second—it’s been a minute since I’ve watched the Danny Glover-led sequel). I decided to put something on in the background while I wrote another piece and saw Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem eyeing me in Hulu’s Recommended menu. I haven’t seen Requiem since it was released on Blu-Ray in 2008, but I remembered being in the minority when it came to enjoying the film. Without much hesitation, I put it on as a filler flick while I punched the keys to complete the other article. I ended up glued to the TV after about fifteen minutes. 

Around the fifteen-minute mark, directors The Strause Brothers* (Greg and Colin) break a horror movie taboo, viciously killing a young boy by Xenomorph incubation. I mean, kids die in horror films all the time (Pet Sematary, Jaws, and IT, to name a few). It isn’t uncommon, but when you see the blood spreading out on the boy’s shirt and watch as a tiny baby alien protrudes from his chest, I think you get a clue about the kind of no-holds-barred exhibition you’re in for. And that’s if you couldn’t tell from the soundstage-looking forest the boy and his father are hunting in beforehand or the fact you bought a ticket to a movie titled Aliens Vs. Predator. The lighting and forestry setting are both off in the early scene, providing the backlot feeling of the direct-to-video Wrong Turn movies, films that I would also contend are ridiculously fun. As with those films, AVP: Requiem shares almost no plot connection to or reverence for the original.

The only link Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem has to its predecessor is the opening that tethers its events to the first film. Requiem “yes, and’s” the chest-ejected Predalien that left us wide-eyed and hopeful during AVP’s ending and keeps that same violent intensity as the movie continues. It’s non-stop mayhem, something not found in the overly patient original, a film that is so mediocre it’s easily forgettable beyond a few minute details.

Kelly is seen through a chain-link fence pointing a rifle toward something off screen in Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

Unlike the original Alien vs. Predator, which confines itself to a pyramid in the Antarctic ice, Requiem is an open-world alien invasion movie. The crashing of the Predator’s vessel allows for the escape of captured facehuggers contained in aquaria onboard the ship to wriggle out from the wreckage, find hosts, and multiply quickly. The small Coloradan town becomes an alien hotbed almost instantly. The Predator alerts a comrade from his home planet to come to Earth to battle the Xenomorphs. 

Meanwhile, the film desperately tries to build characters from the townspeople caught in the crosshairs. The thing is, none of these characters is very noteworthy. Reiko Aylesworth plays Kelly, who is reuniting with her husband Tim (True Blood’s Sam Trammel). Steven Pasquale is an ex-con, Dallas, who is reuniting with his younger brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis). Ricky is having trouble with a bully (Final Destination 2’s David Paetkau) dating the girl he likes (Kristen Hager).  

Characters are a little lacking, but I don’t think the acting in Requiem is particularly bad. I enjoyed Aylesworth on 24 and Pasquale on Rescue Me, so I was happy to see them in the film. However, unlike their television counterparts, their characters here don’t get much room to express their range. It’s harder to enjoy them given the film’s tight, breakneck pace of gory human deaths and (acid) bloodletting. The Strause Brothers want this movie to go off the rails, do some barrel rolls, and explode on the way to the end. They definitely succeed, but they’re still able to do a little bit more character-building along the way.

Dallas and Sheriff Eddie talk to someone off camera outside of an emergency vehicle in the rain

Requiem’s screenwriter Shane Salerno is no stranger to action films. Before AVP: Requiem, he was a co-writer on Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft (2000) and one of the credited writers on Armageddon (1998). Salerno will soon provide the scripts for 2026’s Avatar 4 and the upcoming Gears of War movie.

Salerno’s dialogue and character-building may not be sound in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, but the setup begs comparison to old-school invasion movies like The Blob, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Them! This throwback quality provides some charm and it works for the film, even if it sometimes feels a bit dated for 2007. 

In the grand scheme of things, the setup of two-dimensional characters in a bubble town witnessing the apocalypse is hilarious drivel. The fact we’re introduced to their backstories after witnessing the impending cataclysm seems so absurdly quaint and about forty years out of date. These introductions don’t garner a lot of empathy or interest from viewers who are already aware of the bigger picture developing. Strangely, there is never any mention of a UFO crash in the area, despite an explosion that nearly engulfs a mountainside and would probably start a forest fire.

The Predator spaceship barrels toward Earth as a father son hunting watch the sky in Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

Much of the film actually reminds me of zombie movies, especially something like Return of the Living Dead Part II. That film also uses an intimate, small-town setting, constant location changes, and a breakneck pace, and its zombie outbreak can be likened to Requiem’s Xenomorph propagation efforts. However, it’s far more schlocky and less serious in tone than AVP: Requiem. Interestingly,  Requiem ends similarly to the original Return of the Living Dead, with a handful of survivors trying to outrun the military containment protocol.

Perhaps the greatest challenge Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem faces is that the film is just too dark. I’m not talking about the movie’s tone or the bleakness of its death scenes–the film is literally hard to see. There’s simply insufficient lighting in some scenes, making it difficult to determine exactly what the camera is pointing at. It’s a valid criticism, but to condemn the movie for that is insane. Just think about the ridiculous things some of us used to do to see B-movie horror films on television in the 90s. VCR tracking, adjusting the tint, hue, and brightness on our television sets –you name it, I did it in the name of movie consumption. While I agree that the movie isn’t lit well, this only makes Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem feels more like a throwback—in this case, to old-school VHS horror. 

And speaking of horror, there’s a lot to go on here. Requiem is super violent and gory as hell, showing no restraint against those in vulnerable circumstances. I’ve previously mentioned the child’s death scene at the start of the film. Late in the movie, the Predalien, evolved to breed without the use of a facehugger, jams its ovipositor down a pregnant woman’s throat and creates a whole brood in the once occupied space within the woman, disturbingly terminating the pregnancy during her labor. It’s mind-numbingly clear that these beings don’t care about human life. The film’s unrelenting and horrifying savagery breaks many unwritten horror rules, and for some, it may have just been too much. But, horror fans should admire its deranged imagination and awesome-looking practical effects. 

A woman caught in webbing screams in horror as her torso rips open revealing a brood of Xenomorphs

The other thing I hear a lot is that Requiem isn’t like any of the Alien or Predator films. Should it be? The movie is called Aliens vs. Predator, a title that implies mutually assured destruction. It’s happening out in the open on our planet, not in isolated places. So, of course, there’s going to be collateral damage, and there’s an easy explanation for why. Anyone who’s seen Predator knows Earth is a hunting ground, so obviously the Predators don’t want to see the place overrun with Xenomorphs, which infect and conquer whatever species they come into contact with. In essence, the Predators are here for Earth’s preservation, like it’s an interstellar version of a national park. 

Now, I’m not completely nuts. I recognize Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem as a hot pile of garbage soup devoid of deep, emotionally affecting characters and stewing with fast-paced ultraviolence. But I think it’s a ridiculously good time all the same. It’s so bad it’s good. I love the kills, especially the surprising ones, like the one at the hospital… you know the one. I love the overboard nods to the films that led to this one: the Alien 3 face-to-face, Aylesworth carrying her daughter like Ripley carries Newt in Aliens, and Pasquale telling his brother to “Get to the chopper,” like he’s Predator’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It’s a delicious plate of cheese. I beg you all to revisit the film. Have a couple of beers, watch it with friends, riff on it, and laugh at it because it hits the B-movie sweet spot for entertainment. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem should be watched with a large audience enjoying it, like Joe Bob Briggs’ mutant fam during The Last Drive-In. And when it surprises you with the WTF death sequences, if you can see them, think about how Fox released this film as a tentpole movie on Christmas Day in 2007. Nothing brings people together during the holidays like seeing other people’s families get ripped apart.

The Predator bears his teeth in the rain

The Strause Brothers, known for their visual effects work prior to AVP: Requiem, would later go on to direct Skyline, another alien invasion film. Skyline follows similar beats as Requiem in its pacing, has a similar disregard for character building, and also focuses on fantastic visual effects and action sequences. The only difference is that Skyline got two sequels after making its $10 million budget back domestically on its opening weekend, globally raking in just under $67 million total. Requiem, however, tripled the film’s $40 million budget in box office sales by earning over $130 million globally. This was a greater return than the first AVP percentage-wise, which did $177 million globally on $60 million.

So, where is our AVP Trilogy finale, Aliens vs. Predators? Unfortunately, any plans for a third installment were abandoned when standalone franchise films were announced. Predators and Prometheus were released in 2010 and 2012, respectively, prematurely ending the Alien vs. Predator series. I for one think Fox should finish the series. Go out with a bang by upping the ante—maybe try blowing up the Earth this time? Who cares if it doesn’t fit the timeline? It could be a lot of fun. 

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, Prey, and many other Predator titles are currently available to watch on Hulu.

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Written by Sean Parker

Living just outside of Boston, Sean has always been facinated by what horror can tell us about contemporary society. He started writing music reviews for a local newspaper in his twenties and found a love for the art of thematic and symbolic analysis. Sean joined Horror Obsessive at it's inception, and is currently the site's Creative Director. He produces and edits the weekly Horror Obsessive podcast for the site as well as his interviews with guests. He has recently started his foray into feature film production as well, his credits include Alice Maio Mackay's Bad Girl Boogey, Michelle Iannantuono's Livescreamers, and Ricky Glore's upcoming Troma picture, Sweet Meats.

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