- "This Christmas there will be no peace on Earth."
- ―Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem tagline
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, often shortened to AVP:R or AVP-R, is a 2007 science fiction film directed by the Brothers Strause and starring Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Kristen Hager, Sam Trammell, Robert Joy, David Paetkau, Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Ian Whyte. A sequel to the 2004 film Alien vs. Predator, it involves the Predalien created at the end of the previous film crash-landing in a small American town and wreaking havoc on the local populace. As the inhabitants struggle to survive, the military takes steps to contain the situation.
Filming began on September 25, 2006 in Vancouver with the Brothers Strause directing based on a screenplay by Shane Salerno. The film was released on December 25, 2007. The film was universally panned by film critics and general audience members, and is widely regarded as being the worst film in the series. Despite this, the film grossed $9.5 million on its opening day and took in a worldwide gross of almost $130 million in theaters, although it ultimately made less than its predecessor. According to Home Media Magazine, the film debuted at #1 in sales and rentals on Blu-ray and #2 on DVD when it was released on home video on April 15, 2008. Since then, the film has gained $28,550,434 in home video sales, bringing its total film gross to $157,461,400. The film, along with its predecessor, has been widely condemned by many fans of the franchise.
The film begins immediately following events in Antarctica, aboard the Predator spacecraft that recovered Scar's body. As Scar's corpse lies in state, a Chestburster erupts from his chest; it is a Predalien, a mix of Yautja and Xenomorph characteristics. The powerful creature quickly matures into an adult and begins killing Predators throughout the ship. During the carnage, a wayward Plasmacaster shot ruptures the vessel's hull, causing it to crash in the forest outside of Gunnison, Colorado. With all of the Predators slain, the Predalien and several Facehuggers escape into the forest where a father and son are on a hunting trip. The Facehuggers attack the pair and quickly subdue them, while the Predalien and the remaining Facehuggers implant embryos into several homeless people living in the sewers beneath Gunnison.
A distress signal from the crashed ship reaches the Predator home world and a lone Predator named Wolf responds, traveling to Earth and locating the wreckage. Using his advanced technology to track the escaped Facehuggers, Wolf begins erasing the evidence of the Xenomorphs' presence, first by destroying the crashed ship and then by using a corrosive blue liquid to dissolve the bodies of any Aliens and their victims that he finds.
Meanwhile, in Gunnison, ex-convict Dallas Howard has just returned to town after serving time in prison. He is met by Sheriff Morales and reunites with his younger brother Ricky. Ricky has a romantic interest in his more affluent classmate Jesse but is being harassed by her aggressive boyfriend Dale and his friends. When Ricky attempts to deliver a pizza to Jesse's house, Dale throws his car keys down a storm drain and, while searching for them, Dallas and Ricky hear noises and see evidence of something strange in the sewers. Nearby, Kelly O'Brien — also returning to Gunnison after serving a tour abroad in the US Army — is reunited with her husband Tim and daughter Molly.
Sheriff Morales leads a search party into the forest looking for the missing father and son. During the search, one of his deputies stumbles upon Wolf and is killed by the Predator, who then makes his way into the sewers and engages a number of adult Xenomorphs. As the battle reaches the surface, several Xenomorphs escape and disperse into the town. Carrie, clocking off for the night at the local diner where she works, is cornered by the Predalien, which then proceeds to impregnate her orally with several Bellyburster embryos. Meanwhile, Wolf pursues several Xenomorphs to the town's power plant, where collateral damage from his weaponry causes a city-wide power outage. Ricky and Jesse meet at the high school swimming pool for a romantic liaison, but are interrupted by Dale and his cohorts just as the power fails. A Xenomorph enters the building and kills Dale's friends while the rest flee the scene. Another Xenomorph invades the O'Brien home, killing Tim while Kelly escapes with Molly.
Kelly and Molly meet up with Dallas, Ricky, Jesse, Dale and Sheriff Morales at a sporting goods store to gather weapons. Having been alerted to events at the town, National Guard troops arrive but the unprepared soldiers are ambushed and quickly slaughtered by the Xenomorphs. The battle between Wolf and the Xenomorphs enters the sporting goods store, where Dale is killed. The Predator's Plasmacasters are damaged in the brawl, but he is able to modify one into a hand-held Plasma Pistol.
As the survivors attempt to escape Gunnison, they make radio contact with Colonel Stevens, who indicates that an air evacuation is being staged at the center of town. Kelly is suspicious of the military's intentions, convincing a small group to go instead to the town's hospital, where they hope to use the facility's medical helicopter to escape. Sheriff Morales, however, puts his faith in the military and heads to the evacuation area with the rest of the surviving citizens. At the hospital, Dallas and the others discover the building has been invaded by Xenomorphs and turned into a Hive, and that the Predalien has been reproducing by implanting Bellybursters directly into pregnant women in the maternity ward. Wolf also arrives at the hospital and in the ensuing battle Jesse is inadvertently killed by the Predator, Ricky is injured by the Predalien, and Dallas acquires Wolf's Plasma Pistol.
The fight continues through the building and eventually reaches the rooftop, where Kelly takes control of the helicopter, fleeing with Dallas, Ricky and Molly while Wolf and the Predalien battle hand-to-hand. The two creatures become locked in a deadly embrace and mortally wound each other, just as a military fighter jet arrives overhead, revealing the military aerial operation is not a rescue lift at all, but a bombing run; an F-22 Raptor executes a tactical nuclear strike that destroys the town, killing Wolf, the Predalien, the survivors gathered at the center of town and any remaining Xenomorphs. The shock wave from the explosion causes Kelly to lose control of the helicopter, which crashes in a clearing in the forest. The occupants survive the crash and are met by special forces soldiers, who promptly confiscate Wolf's Plasma Pistol.
Some time later, Colonel Stevens presents the recovered Predator weapon to a Ms. Yutani, who remarks that the world is not yet ready for such technology, to which Colonel Stevens responds that the technology is not intended for our world.
- Dallas .... Steven Pasquale
- Kelly .... Reiko Aylesworth
- Morales .... John Ortiz
- Ricky .... Johnny Lewis
- Molly .... Ariel Gade
- Jesse .... Kristen Hager
- Tim .... Sam Trammell
- Col. Stevens .... Robert Joy
- Dale .... David Paetkau
- Alien .... Tom Woodruff, Jr.
- Predator .... Ian Whyte
- Darcy .... Chelah Horsdal
- Curtis .... Meshach Peters
- Mark .... Matt Ward
- Nick .... Michal Suchánek
- Drew .... David Hornsby
- Deputy Ray .... Chris William Martin
- Deputy Joe .... James Chutter
- Deputy .... Phil Buhler
- Deputy .... Kevin Haaland
- Carrie .... Gina Holden
- Buddy .... Kurt Max Runte
- Sam .... Liam James
- Dr. Lennon .... Tim Henry
- Karl .... Tom McBeath
- Nathan .... Ty Olsson
- Ritchie .... Anthony Harrison
- Homeless Harry .... Lloyd Berry
- Nurse Helen .... Rekha Sharma
- Tina .... Catherine Lough Haggquist
- Pregnant Sue .... Victoria Bidewell
- Lt. Wood .... Dalias Blake
- Mr. Thomas .... Tim Perez
- Earl .... Rainbow Sun Francks
- Scotty .... Juan Riedinger
- Broadcaster .... Val Cole
- Tank Driver .... Andrew Hedge
- Truck Driver .... Ryan Robbins
- Special Forces Commander .... Curtis Caravaggio
- Ms. Y .... Françoise Yip
- Homeless Guy .... John Wardlow
- Homeless Lady .... Nesta Chapman
- Additional Predator .... Ian Feuer
- Additional Predator .... Bobby "Slim" Jones
- National Guard .... Glen Brkich
- Pregnant Woman .... Jay-Lyn Green
- Pregnant Woman .... Lili Wexu
- ER Resident Doc .... Adrian Hough
- ER Doctor #2 .... Karen van Blankenstein
Development and Writing
Several ideas were considered for a sequel to Alien vs. Predator, including a script based around the Predators abducting humans and taking them off-world to be hosts for the Xenomorphs, which would then be used for training hunts by the Predators. Screenwriter Shane Salerno turned in at least two scripts, one of which featured a Predator ship crashing in Afghanistan during the War on Terror; this concept was notably revisited in the comic Alien vs. Predator: Sand Trap, included exclusively with the Alien vs. Predator: The Ultimate Showdown DVD box set. Eventually 20th Century Fox elected to go with Salerno's second script, which likewise featured a Predator ship crashing and unleashing its Alien cargo, but this time in small-town America. Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis, who had provided creature effects work on every Alien film since Aliens, hoped to direct the film themselves. However, Fox ultimately went with brother directors Colin and Greg Strause.
The Strause brothers sought to make an AVP film set in space in the futuristic time epriod of the Alien films, but they were told by the studio that they would be working on Salerno's script set on present-day Earth. Nevertheless, they managed to incorporate elements of their idea into the film, such as the Predator home planet. They later commented, "When the script came up for this movie, they thought we'd be perfect for it because it's an ambitious movie for the budget that they had and they knew that having our visual effects background was going to be a huge thing."
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was filmed on a 52-day schedule in Vancouver. During filming breaks, the brothers supervised visual effects work on 300, Shooter and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer by using in-house supervisors and a system called "Mavis and Lucy", which let the brothers track, view and approve dailies. Colin estimates Hydraulx produced 460 of the 500 visual effects shots including the nuclear explosion which was created using Maya fluids and BA Volume Shader. The interior of the Predator ship was created using CGI, as the brothers felt it would be more cost effective than building a set. The visual effects team peaked at 110 people for several months and averaged 70, almost all of the entire Hydraulx staff.
Using their knowledge in visual effects and making use of principal photography, the brothers tried to film as much as they could on camera without resorting to CGI, Colin said "Other than the exterior spaceship shots, there are no pure CG shots". CGI was used for the Alien tails and inner jaws, whereas they required puppeteers and wire removal on previous films. The main visual effects of the film included set design, a nuclear explosion, the Predator's ship crashing and the Predator cloak, about which Colin stated "We wanted to make sure it didn't look too digital".
The film was rated R for violence, gore and language, unlike its predecessor, which was given a PG-13 rating. The BBFC's classification decision for the film is the same as the original (Rated 15), whilst the Australian OFLC rated the film MA, up on the original's MA rating.
Release and Reception
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was released in North America on December 25, 2007, in 2,563 theaters. The film grossed $9,515,615 on its opening day for an average of $3,707 per theater and was number ten at the box office. It grossed $5 million in Australia, $9 million in Japan and the United Kingdom and $7 million in Russia for an international total of $86,288,761. As of February 24, 2009, the film had taken in a domestic gross of $41,797,066 and an international gross of $87,087,428, bringing it to a total of $128,884,494. The budget of the film was $40,000,000. The film is the lowest grossing Alien film in the domestic box office and is the second lowest grossing Alien film worldwide, next to the original Alien, excluding the effect of inflation.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was universally panned by film critics and audience members. Based on 66 reviews, the film scored a 12% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes and 29 out of 100 at Metacritic, the worst for a film in the franchises. Chief criticisms of the film included the acting, dialogue, cardboard characters, over-the-top gore, excessively murky and overly-dark lighting, "jumpy editing" and lack of new ideas; however, a few critics praised the film as "a fun B movie".
The "over-the-top gore" was considered by some to be extreme even for Alien and Predator standards. The concept of the Predalien purposely targeting pregnant women as hosts for "bellyburster" embryos was considered to be in bad taste, and the gruesome death of the unborn baby, and subsequently the mother, was not well received by audiences. Another cited example of the film's bad-taste gore is a scene in which a Chestburster bursts out of a young child. Furthermore, the off-screen implication that the Predalien slaughtered a full maternity ward full of newborn babies was considered distasteful and unnecessary.
Chris Hewitt of Empire called the film an "early but strong contender for worst movie of 2008", while BBC critic Mark Kermode's scathing review called the film "noisy, badly shot rubbish". Stina Chyn of Film Threat felt the camerawork "is a smidge too shaky and the lighting/color design too dark for me to relish the Predator-on-Alien butt-kicking". Josh Rosenblatt of The Austin Chronicle dismissed the film, labelling it "an orgy of mindless violence, a random collection of bloody bodies, alien misanthropy and slobbering carnage designed to bore straight into the pleasure centers of 13-year-old boys and leave the rest of us wondering when the movies got so damn loud." The Hollywood Reporter contributor Kirk Honeycutt called it a "dull actioner that looks like a bad video game".
Not all reviews were negative, however. Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly felt it was a "B movie that truly earns its B", though he gave it a grading of "B" on an A to F scale. Variety contributor Joe Leydon said it "Provides enough cheap thrills and modest suspense to shake a few shekels from genre fans before really blasting off as homevid product," and Ryan Stewart of Cinematical said he "can't recommend it as a good movie on its own merits, stocked as it is with cardboard cutout characters and a barely coherent plot, but it's miles more interesting than the last Alien vs. Predator film." Todd Gilchrist of IGN stated the film is "competently executed, occasionally scary and frequently fun to watch, no matter whether you choose to laugh at or with it".
Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times stated, "It may not be classic sci-fi like the original Alien, which it has in its DNA, but it's a perfectly respectable next step in the series." Daily Variety called it "Slam-Bang-Horror Action!" and MovieWeb.com said "A cool new monster...over-the-top violence...AVP-R is a lot of fun!"
The film was condemned by fans of the Alien creatures, as they believed that the Predator killed too many Aliens effortlessly for a single predator and that the Aliens were in comparison, weak, and easy to kill and completely defenseless against the Predator. This seems to contradict the similar feeling Predator fans had of the first film, where the same type of bias appears to have occurred for the Aliens. The scene where the Predator rips an Alien to pieces with his whip and then crushes its head was not well received by Alien fans (likely due to the fact that the Predator seemingly took no damage from the acid blood). This apparent bias (according to some fans) occurred due to the Strause brothers' seemingly blatant favoritism of the Predator (in the audio commentary for the DVD and Blu-ray of the film it appears that the brothers are "mocking" Alien fans).
Further criticism of the Alien included the behavior of the alien creature itself. Whereas the alien creatures were capable of using their surroundings to their advantage and displaying basic problem solving skills, (such as cutting the power and using elevators in Aliens) these aliens displayed a rather high amount of unintelligent behavior that is unusual for a creature as intelligent as the alien. An example of this is during the sewer scene, the aliens spend an absurd amount of time pointlessly stalking Wolf instead of attacking him when they have the advantage in numbers or setting up an ambush, therefore giving Wolf enough time to prepare for battle and when it ensues Wolf easily overpowers the aliens, tossing them around with little to no effort and holding two of the aliens up by their throats without them retaliating, this is in contrast to the first film in which one Alien is easily able to match the strength of a predator and even over-power them. This is also evident during the power plant scene where an alien manages to shove Wolf over a railing and impale him with a metal pipe and instead of finishing him off the alien sprints away with Wolf attempting to shoot the alien with his Plasmacaster and causing a city wide blackout in the process and making the situation worse.
The design of the Predator creatures was regarded as an improvement over the creatures from the first film and received generally positive reviews from Predator fans as opposed to the dissatisfaction with the predators from the previous film. Despite the praise for the design of the predators, there was criticism from Predator fans in that just like the first film, the predators other than just Wolf displayed unusual and incompetent behavior. An example being that one of the predators on the scout ship encounters the Predalien and starts to open fire on the Predalien with his Plasmacaster and continues firing damaging the scout ship therefore causing it to crash.
The main Predator's behavior has also been criticized, the predator is said to be a veteran and is sent to earth to clean up and remove extraterrestrial evidence but displays a high amount of incompetence throughout the film. First he skins a cop alive which alerts the authorities of his presence (This also appears to violate the Yautja honor code as the cop did not attack or threaten him). Wolf mis-fires his Plasmacaster and releases the Aliens from the sewer and as noted before, he caused a city-wide blackout by firing his Plasmacaster out of anger, hitting the power plant and causing the black out. Wolf loses the only weapon that would have allowed him to kill the Predalien with ease (the plasma pistol) and takes a considerable amount of time taking his mask off when confronting the Predalien. Aliens are noted to be essentially like animals and thus are driven by instinct and will attack any non-Xenomorph lifeform with no hesitation, yet in this case, the Predalien waited patiently for Wolf to disarm himself. This behavior from the predalien has been criticized heavily. It is possible though that the Predalien inherited some knowledge of the Yautja honor code from her host and the Predalien waiting for Wolf to disarm himself is simply an after-effect of inherited genetic memory.
The Predalien's design has received mixed reviews. Some fans praised the design of the creature especially for incorporating features from both species while others were not so positive. Aside from the design of the creature the Predalien's behavior has also been heavily criticized as idiotic and incompetent. An example of this is in the beginning of the film the Predalien slaughters two Predators with relative ease proving she is a vicious killing machine yet later on in the film the Predalien constantly smacks Wolf with her tail instead of killing him despite always having the upper hand in the battle. This is also evident during the fight in the hospital where the Predalien manages to subdue Wolf and as she attempts to kill him Wolf slashes her with his Wrist Blades and the Predalien recoils in pain despite the fact that for a creature as vicious and massive as the Predalien she should have easily shrugged off the wound.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was nominated for two Golden Raspberry awards in the fields of Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie and Worst Prequel or Sequel. The awards however, went to I Know Who Killed Me and Daddy Day Camp.
On May 8, 2008, AVP:R was nominated for an MTV film award for Best Fight Sequence.
Home video releases
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on April 15, 2008 in North America and May 12, 2008 in the United Kingdom by Fox Home Entertainment. It was released in three versions: a single-disc R-rated release, a single-disc Unrated Edition and a two-disc Unrated Edition, including a second disc of special features. Extra features on the single-disc editions include two audio commentary tracks: one by the directors and producer John Davis and a second by creature effects designers and creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis.
Disc one of the two-disc Unrated Edition includes both commentary tracks as well as both cuts of the film seamlessly branched and an exclusive "Weyland-Yutani archives" picture-in-picture reference guide to the warring alien races; five behind-the-scenes featurettes: "Prepare for War: The Making of AVP-R," "Fight to the Finish: The Making of AVP-R," "AVP-R: The Nightmare Returns - Creating the Aliens," "Crossbreed: The Predalien," and "Building the Predator Homeworld"; multiple galleries of still photos showing the creature designs and sets; and the film's theatrical trailer. The second disc includes a "digital copy" download feature. Copies of the Unrated Edition purchased from Best Buy outlets additionally included the exclusive comic book Aliens vs. Predator: Deadspace.
In its week of release, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem debuted at #2 on the DVD charts, making $7.7 million and #1 on the Blu-ray charts. The film has made $28,550,434 in DVD sales in the United States, bringing its total film gross to $157,461,400.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was notably the first film in the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchises not to be adapted as either a novel or a comic book. However, an original short comic, titled Aliens vs. Predator: Deadspace, was created by Dark Horse Comics exclusively for inclusion in the home video release of the film's Unrated Edition. A soundtrack album of Brian Tyler's score was released on CD and through digital download platforms.
A behind-the-scenes book detailing the creature effects on the film, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: Inside the Monster Shop, was published by Design Studio Press, who previously produced a similar book for the preceding movie. NECA produced a line of action figures based on the film.
A tie-in video game for the film was released on November 13, 2007 in North America, November 30 in Europe and December 6 in Australia. The game, developed by Rebellion Developments and published by Sierra Entertainment, was a third-person action-adventure game, allowing players to take the role of the Predator from the film. The game received generally negative reviews from the gaming press. Inkworks produced a set of trading cards for the film, including a limited edition subset that incorporated samples of fabric from costumes actually worn by the actors in the movie.
- At just 94 minutes, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is the shortest film in the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchise. In fact, it is the only film to run under 100 minutes.
- Far more so than any other Alien, Predator or Alien vs. Predator film, Requiem is replete with deliberate homages to the other movies in the franchise.
- A bus in the film is seen with "CRESTED BUTTE" on the destination sign in the front window — Crested Butte is indeed a town near Gunnison, and actress Suzy Amis owns a cabin there. Amis is married to James Cameron, and the pair frequently holiday in the town.
- On set, an Alien dummy was stolen. The police had to get involved and caught the person selling it on eBay for a low price.
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is the first, and so far only film in the Alien franchise not to have a novelization and/or comic book adaptation (although the novelization of Prometheus was only released in Japan). Marc Cerasini, author of the novelization of the first Alien vs. Predator film, was contacted by 20th Century Fox about producing a novel adaptation, but prior work commitments combined with a tight schedule meant he was forced to turn the project down.
- According to Marc Cerasini, the concluding scene with the Predator gun being turned over to Yutani was originally drafted for the previous film's script.
- Requiem is also the only Alien film not to be featured in notable motion picture effects journal Cinefex.
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (soundtrack) — The soundtrack to the film by Brian Tyler.
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (video game) — The video game based on the film.
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