Attack of the Unknown begins with a SWAT team, led by 1991’s Teen Agent star Richard Grieco (above) as Vernon, and they’re going after a baddie called Hades (Robert LaSardo), who’s doing a big business deal, but Hades’ team are not the smartest because they don’t bother with protective gear, and are happy to stand up in full view of the police who suited and booted, and are firing back.
Hence, the opening is a ridiculous shootout as the cops storm his place, such as one baddie refusing to give up, and still aims his weapon even though every cop’s guns are trained on him. And then cue a woman running in, shouting and spraying bullets. You know she’ll die, leaving her son an orphan, even though she could quietly have left out the back. Ugh.
Don’t worry, though, since that’s not the last cliché to be strung out over 103 minutes, as there’s a ton of them at every turn.
After the team relax in a strip club for the evening, Vernon gets a terminal cancer diagnosis from his doctor, but that’s not the worst news he’ll get all day, because a spaceship full of evil aliens has just arrived.
As they invade, any form of tech stops working, but when we see them about, there’s nothing done to distract from the fact that they’re just actors in regular costumes, each with a funny head. At least there’s some practical effects used in the process, though, rather than purely relying on CGI.
From this point on, since they all need to escape from a County Detention Centre whilst the alien invasion is going on, it’s basically Alien Vs Assault on Precinct 13 – both great films, while this… isn’t.
Every movie cliche is played out, such as a criminal in handcuffs who sneaks in a lockpick device of some sort, and an alien hand creeping over a wall, finger by finger, like the film… hmm…. Alien.
Tara Reid also pops up in a flashback cameo (hence her inclusion in the cast), and there’s one giggle when a token Youtuber/podcaster is asked if he has any training, in order to help the situation, but when he says he came second in a Street Fighter tournament, everyone assumes he meant in person. Every viewer knows exactly what he meant.
There’s also an old guy with a moustache who clearly thinks he’s playing Bryan Cranston (Robert Donovan as Weller), but for most of the cast, it’s a case of “work out who’ll bite the farm next”.
Attack of the Unknown has a ridiculous amount of ‘associate producers’ and ‘executive producers’. A lot of weight is given to the term “executive producer”, but it can mean anything from ‘doing a lot’ to simply ‘owning the company’. As for the “associate producers”, are they just a list of the people who have crowdfunded this movie? It appears that is the case, but before I knew that, it just seemed rather odd. I have taken a screenshot of the producers list on IMDB and you can see the bizarre listing. There’s not even a regular ‘producer’ amongst them! However, there are in the film’s own credits.
Some other issues with the film include that the dialogue is frequently difficult to hear because it gets drowned out in the mix, and there’s an early unconvincing sex scene. Perhaps that should’ve been left on the cutting room floor.
Attack of the Unknown is clearly done on a small budget, such as when Vernon punches Hades in the van, the sound effect is like a slap rather than a punch. However, I’m not trying to do this down because it’s low-budget, but because it gives us nothing that we haven’t seen done before, and pretty much every other alien movie I’ve seen has done it better… except, perhaps, for Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, which was also just two guys fighting whilst in rubber suits.
Attack of the Unknown is available in the US now, with Blu-ray and DVD listings for the US NTSC market (Amazon doesn’t state if the Blu-ray is region-free), but any UK releases have yet to be announced.
Running time: 103 minutes
Release date: October 27th 2020 (in the US, at least)
Studio: Mahal Empire
Director: Brandon Slagle
Producers: Michael Mahal, Sonny Mahal
Screenplay: Brandon Slagle
Story: Michael Mahal, Sonny Mahal
Music: Scott Glasgow
Vernon: Richard Grieco
Hannah: Jolene Andersen
Maddox: Douglas Tait
Hades: Robert LaSardo
Elizabeth: Tara Reid
Kai: Paul Gunn
C-Los: Gerardo de Pablos
Tobias: Clay Trimble
Weller: Robert Donovan
Dallas: Johnny Huang
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.