Most of you probably won’t know, or care, that It Came From The Desert is an old, late 80’s computer game originally for the Amiga console.
The game itself was inspired by 1950’s B movies though technology of the time meant, well, looking back at it now it definitely falls into the category of old skool.
What made writers Trent Haaga (68 Kill, Cheap Thrills), Hank Woon Jr. (Age Of Dinosaurs, 500 MPH Storm) and Marko Makilaakso (Ella And Friends 2, War Of The Dead), who also directs, want to turn it into a film is anyone’s guess, but here it is.
Motorbike mechanic Brian, Harry Lister Smith (Murder On The Orient Express, God’s Own Country) and his best friend and motocross rider Lukas, Alex Mills (Vikings (TV), Episodes (TV)) head out to the desert to party and celebrate Lukas’s latest racing win.
Along the way they pickup Lisa, Vanessa Grasse (Leatherface, Roboshark), who Brian adores but doesn’t have the courage to speak to.
Upon arriving at the party place, Brian and Lukas take a walk and stumble upon an old, abandoned military facility, home to some experiments whereby scientists spliced alien DNA with that of the humble ant and spider. Well, you can imagine how well that went.
The trio must survive the onslaught and find someway to stop this alien-ant (farm) colony from breeding again and taking over their town.
It Came From The Desert is billed as a nostalgic tribute to creature features of the 1950’s. Those films had big, rubber monsters, lots of women screaming whilst holding their faces, corny one-liners and lots of school-kids getting eaten.
It Came From The Desert doesn’t really have any of that. It makes heavy use of green screen effects, a lot of which you can see for yourself as an extra on the DVD, the laughs are few and far between and the corny one-liners come the boys obsession with a cheesy film character, despite both seemingly a little old to be into that sort of thing.
I was really looking forward to the movie, I didn’t expect it to be brilliant. I expected it to be corny, a laugh, good fun.
Instead it’s an hour and a half that feels much longer. It never does enough to grab your attention and keep you interested.
It’s almost as if the makers have taken the movie a tad too seriously. It’s lacking a sense of humour, it references a few films, but it doesn’t poke fun at anyone, not even itself.
It’s this latter point that I think makes the difference. The movie needed to have more action, bigger and better chases, but it also needed more laughs and it wouldn’t have done any harm for the characters to laugh at themselves, at the ridiculous situation they find themselves in.
Instead, the trio take it all in their stride, suddenly acting all heroic and noble, determined to do the ‘right thing’.
Lukas tries to inject a little more fun into proceedings, he’s supposed to be the cool-but-dim one, but his moments are too sparse to ever get a foothold.
It Came From The Desert is, sadly, not the film I was hoping for. It’s decently directed and the effects aren’t that bad, but it should have been a lot more fun and funnier.