The screener for Big Brood arrived at the perfect moment. I had just discovered the film I was about to review lacked subtitles, and as I went to request a copy with them, it arrived in my inbox, solving my problem of what to watch tonight. And after being less than satisfied by The Hive a couple of days ago, I was in the mood for a more enjoyable tale of body stealing aliens.
And Big Brood does get off to a good start as a couple out camping are disturbed by a loud noise somewhere in the woods. Since he’s just assured her he can fight off a bear, the young lass doesn’t have any problem sending her boyfriend out to investigate. Unfortunately for both of them, it isn’t a bear that they heard.
Adam (Lucas DeNies, Deadeye, Tales of Darkened Light) and his girlfriend Allie (Veronica Rozler, Sightings, Lightning Baby) have broken down on the way out to her family’s cabin. They’re spending the 4th of July weekend with her parents Mitchell (Patrick Regan, The Man With No Pants, Romeo 3000) and Marilyn (Jennie Russo, Shark Encounters of the Third Kind, Fang). Adam plans to propose while they’re there, which may provoke another kind of fireworks given her father’s opinion of him.
Considering he’ll also have to deal with the presence of Allie’s stuck up sister Jade (Gabrielle Nunzio, The Puppetman, Inhuman Resources) and her fiancé Brent (Donovan Gale, You Deserve to Die, Antagonist), an obnoxious crypto bro whom Adam accurately describes as “that bag of dicks”, he probably should have stayed home. But he can always hang out with aspiring rapper cousin Ty (Joe Cappelli, A Quiet Place Part II, Return to Clark County).
Director Matthew A. Peters (Slade Collins in and Out of Time, Empire State of the Dead) and writer Dylan Patrick Morley make them so obnoxious that when Mitchell decrees all the men will be going hunting, I was hoping Adam would shoot them and mount their heads on the wall. Thankfully it’s about then that the Alien Queen (Hillary Schmatolla-Brooks, My Brother Cain, Radiant Dark) unleashes her drones on the vacationers.
When they’re not spewing black goo on people, the drones can actually be quite funny due to the fact they still have some of their personality, but in an obviously altered form. When asked if he’s OK, Ty deadpans “I’m just very high on marijuana” for example. Given the film’s budget, their creepy tone and black pupils is an effective way to portray them.
Actually, apart from the Alien Queen and her ship, both of which are well done, there aren’t many effects in Big Brood. Even the various deaths are shot so as to keep the violence off-screen and avoid showing any wounds. But I suppose that’s somewhat fitting for a film that frequently leans into comedy, especially once Agent Owens (Stephanie Ward, Axegrinder 666, Brain Hunter: New Breed) and the bumbling park rangers she’s conscripted show up.
Big Brood ends with a satisfying showdown between Adam the Queen and her chief minion, you guessed it, Mitchell. Can he finally prove himself before Allie becomes the Queen’s latest host? And where did Agent Owen find fireworks big enough to use as bazookas?
The results are part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, part early Fred Olen Ray with its frequently humorous tone, cheap but effective alien and her minions and a fair amount of skin on display thanks to the seemingly ageless Ms. Russo. More mainstream or gore/effects oriented viewers may not be as entertained, but Big Brood was just what I needed to restore my faith in low budget alien invasion films.