The Hubrisween That Wasn’t: C

C: Canaries (2017)

So this week we have a problem that will crop up again next week and more: Back when I was serious about participating in Hubrisween in 2022, I watched a few of those movies. Canaries, for example, I watched on July 9, according to Letterboxd. Did I write about it then? No, for reasons already discussed. Do I have time currently to dig it back up and re-watch it? Again, no. So this will likely be a pretty bare-boned post. At the very least, Canaries was memorable enough to allow this. Honestly, going through my Film Diary, there were several instances of I watched this? I don’t recall that at all.

So what we have here is a bunch of time-hopping aliens, who keep leaving behind corpses in areas, not to mention times, they do not belong. There’s a Department of Defense spook who’s chasing them around, but the only clue as to where they might appear next is a photo of a New Years Eve party that hasn’t happened yet.

Say that three times fast.

Which brings us to the Welsh community of Lower Cwmtwrch, where a DJ recently fired from his London station is hosting a New Years party (ooh, convenient!) in the hopes of impressing a rich bloke enough to finance a nightclub venture. Trouble is, his friends couldn’t scare up many people to attend the party, there’s a massive rain storm, and, oh yeah, an alien invasion.

As the DoD guy tells us, that’s not rain – it’s a device used by the aliens to create footsoldiers. The corpses they’ve been leaving behind were failures, as the rain kept killing them. It wasn’t until they abducted a fishing boat’s crew that they found their yellow slickers protected their victims long enough for the necessary mutation to take hold. So there’s a sudden influx of slicker-wearing murderers out and about.

You’re going to be getting a lot of Shaun of the Dead vibes over most of the movie, and that is totally justified. Don’t make the mistake of getting attached to any of the characters (like I did), because they’re going to be whittled down pretty quickly. What elevates Canaries beyond mere imitation is that it also tells the other side of the story; turns out the Depart of Defense made a deal with the aliens, as long as they stayed out of the bounds of America (like, say, Lower Cwmtwrch), but an actual invasion wasn’t supposed to happen, and our DoD guy is faced with losing his men on the ground or his job.

What I can’t fault Canaries for is its attempt at scope. The Defense and conspiracy stuff is what prevents me from dismissing it as a mere Shaun of the Dead rip-off. Its ambitions outstrip its means, but it tries, dammit. I have my doubts that a brief scene was actually shot in Viet Nam, as the credits allege, but hey. What do I know.

I also have to give kudos to the makers for finding a cost-effective way to create a lot of monsters – yellow slickers, finger extensions and some face makeup, voila! I’m a hard sell on comedy, but it actually made me laugh out loud a few times. Most importantly, after the movie ended, I felt a need to see more of some of the surviving characters. It may not be a great movie, but it is a surprisingly good one.

Especially since one of its alternate titles is Alien Party Crashers, under which, I can assure you, I never would have watched it.

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