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Alien: Ore is a 2019 fan-made short film written and directed by Kailey Spear and Sam Spear and starring Mikela Jay and Lorraine Hawkes. Created as part of the Alien 40th anniversary shorts project run by Tongal in association with 20th Century Fox, the film follows a group of miners at the colony of Bowen's Landing who encounter a deadly Xenomorph thousands of feet below the surface in the mine where they work.

Plot

Sometime around the year 2122,[2] deep below the mining colony of Bowen's Landing, worker Kolton searches the mine shafts for his colleague Al, who has gone missing. Finding his body in the darkness, Kolton rushes to alert others.

On the surface, the next shift arrives at the mine-head. As they gear up, a miner named Clark voices his concern regarding rumours that Weyland-Yutani intends to close the colony down due to falling returns, while others congratulate their colleague Lorraine over the impending birth of her second grandchild. The miners clock in and board the lift down into the main shaft, watched over by synthetic supervisor Hanks in the control room. As they begin their descent, Lorraine eagerly asks Hanks if the new seam they are hoping to break into has been found yet, but she responds in the negative.

Reaching the gallery, Lorraine briefly reunites with her daughter Anna before Anna and the rest of the previous shift head back to the surface. As the new arrivals prepare to go to work, a shaken Kolton arrives and informs them that he has found Al, but cannot bring himself describe what he saw and simply implores the others to come and see for themselves. Lorraine grabs a portable camera unit from a nearby locker so that Hanks can watch their progress before she and several other miners follow Kolton back to Al's body. Reaching his corpse, the miners are shocked to find his chest ripped open, as though something has torn its way out from within. Continuing to search the area, they discover several large, egg-shaped objects that have apparently been dug from the rock face nearby, one of which sits open at the top. Concluding that whatever killed Al likely came from the egg, Lorraine grabs a mining tool and prepares to destroy them, but Hanks advises caution and instead suggests they evacuate the area while she notifies the company. As the miners prepare to collect up Al's body, Hanks sends a transmission to Weyland-Yutani before locking the control room door.

Before the miners can leave the scene of Al's death, Clark is violently killed by something hiding in the shadows. As the rest of the group flees, the lights fail and another miner named Winni is slain by the creature as she tries to fight it off with an axe. In the control room, Hanks silently watches the camera feed with a mixture of horror and awe; unknown to the miners, it is she who has deactivated the lights in the mine. Despite her interference, the survivors make it back to the lift and begin their ascent, although almost immediately Lorraine stops the lift. Ignoring the horrified complaints from the other miners, she calmly explains that the creature is currently contained in the mine, but that if they return to the surface, there is a good chance it will follow them and escape into the colony — where their families live. Refusing to allow that to happen, she plainly states her intention to return and kill it. Hanks attempts to dissuade her with the promise of a finders bonus if she leaves the creature alive so that it can be recovered by the company, revealing her true allegiance to the stunned miners. Furious, Lorraine destroys the portable camera, rendering the synthetic blind to events in the mine. In the control room, Hanks stares blankly at the now disabled video feed, while an adjacent monitor flashes with a message from Weyland-Yutani instructing her to ensure the survival of the creature.

Lorraine returns alone to the mine shaft, arming herself with a rock drill. The creature soon appears before her, lurking in the shadows. As she prepares to face it, the rest of the miners gather around her, having decided they cannot let her fight the beast alone. They heft the mining tools with which they are armed before the creature lunges at them out of the gloom.

Cast


Filming

Filming for the short took place over four days.[3] Underground scenes were filmed at the Britannia Mine Museum near Vancouver, Canada, a former copper mine now converted to a museum. As the museum is still operating, filming had to take place at night, outside of opening hours.[4] While on location, the crew had to deal with radios that would not reliably work underground, eventually resorting to posting production assistants at intervals along the tunnels to communicate messages back and forth.[5] During shooting, the walls of the mine were sprayed down with water to ensure they "glistened in that nice, sinister way".[3] Although little was filmed that did not end up being used, some shots of the adult Xenomorph as well as establishing shots of Anna's group of miners were not used in the final edit.[6]

Special Effects

Directors Kailey and Sam Spear originally intended for the adult Xenomorph in their short to be portrayed through a mixture of practical effects and CGI. However, it soon became apparent that incorporating both types of effects would be prohibitively expensive, and as some of the sequences they had planned could not be achieved practically, they ultimately elected to go with an all-digital creature.[5] The CGI Xenomorph model was provided by Canadian effects studio Image Engine,[7] who have worked on such films as District 9 (2009), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Jurassic World (2015), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017), as well as several seasons of Game of Thrones. As well as the titular creature, Image also handled all of the screen graphics seen in the film, the digital matte painting of the mine exterior, the corrosion effect seen on the dropped axe and fake snow in the opening scenes when the snow machine the production had intended to use would not work on the day.[5] As well as digital effects, the production created five full-size Xenomorph Egg props for use in the film.[5]

Release

As with the other 40th anniversary short films, Alien Ore was released through IGN, becoming available from April 19, 2019.[8]

Trivia

  • Alien: Ore is one of two 40th anniversary shorts to receive an official "theatrical" poster, the other being Alien: Specimen.
  • Despite Tongal's project brief specifying that the anniversary short films should be based only on the original Alien, the adult Warrior in Alien: Ore has a ridged head design, like the creatures seen in Aliens. Rather than an intentional choice, this is because the digital model (provided by Image Engine) actually pre-existed the film;[3] as it would had been prohibitively expensive for the production to pay for a new model, they simply settled for the Aliens design.
  • Producer Victoria Burkheart was previously involved with early development on Neill Blomkamp's cancelled Alien 5 project.[5]

Gallery

References

  1. "Tongal - Creator Interview: Director Chris Reading on the Making of Alien: Containment". Retrieved on 2019-09-11.
  2. "Twitter - Alien". Retrieved on 2019-05-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Nick's Movie Insights - "Alien: Ore" (2019) Q & A, Kailey and Sam: Making "Alien: Ore," part one". Retrieved on 2019-09-16.
  4. "Tongal - Creator Interview: Kailey and Sam Spear on the Making of Alien: Ore". Retrieved on 2019-09-16.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "HN Entertainment - EXCLUSIVE: 'Alien: Ore' Producer Victoria Burkhart Talks To Us About How The Short Film Came Together". Retrieved on 2019-09-17.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Nick's Movie Insights - "Alien: Ore" (2019) Q & A, Kailey and Sam: Making "Alien: Ore," part two". Retrieved on 2019-09-16.
  7. "Twitter - Kailey Spear". Retrieved on 2019-09-16.
  8. "AVPGalaxy - Fox Shares Release Order & Red Band Trailer for Alien: 40th Anniversary Shorts!". Retrieved on 2019-03-28.

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