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2003 - 101m.

They Are Among Us seems to be having an identity crisis. Wanting to mix small town paranoia, mild religious underpinnings, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers inspired alien invasion hijinks; this effort from director Jeffrey Obrow (Pranks, The Kindred) just can never get its footing and stumbles its way through 101 dull, unsatisfying minutes.

Things get off to a rocky start as the audience is introduced to seemingly random characters, a hobo gets attacked by a clawed creature, and Soap Opera veteran Hunter Tylo supplies us with an underwear clad(!) sex scene. At the centre of this is teenaged Dan (Michael DiLallo) who's about to celebrate his eighteenth birthday but is also quite paranoid about why most of the townsfolk seem to be acting strange around him (we know they're aliens and Obrow feels the need to show a woman feeding her young son a mouse to prove it) and just exactly what his parents have in the strange wooden box they keep hidden from him.

After swiping the box, seeing it contains all sorts of strange relics, and eventually meeting up with bounty hunter Finley (Alison Eastwood), Dan discovers that the town is filled with aliens and who, under the leadership of the creepy Uncle Bob (Michael Orr Hughes), are getting ready to sacrifice him as part of a ritual. This leads to him receiving desperate phone calls from his missing best friend, his parents trying to save him, Finley trying to pick off the creatures, and a forgettable finale.

Given that Obrow has a past with the genre, I was expecting more from this. Sure, his earlier flicks weren't stellar, but they were at least watchable and he even managed to do a decent adaptation of a Dean Koontz novel with Servants of Twilight - which held some similarities with the cult-like behavior of the villains. He does get off a few okay moments, including an opening scene showing human disguised aliens practicing emotions, and the creature effects (while minimal) are pretty good also. It just feels like he's been hindered by its made-for-TV roots and the muddled script by Lars Hauglie doesn't help much.

What makes this an obvious product of television is the fact the cast is fully loaded with familiar faces. The aforementioned Tylo ("The Bold and the Beautiful") does reasonably well as our alien seductress, veteran b-movie/"L.A. Law" guy Corbin Bernsen plays yet another doctor character and has the embarrassment of being smothered in collagen (since the aliens feast on it) and groveling a lot, Bruce Boxleitner (Tron) is steady as Dan's father, and even the late, great George "Buck" Flower shows up in a minor role. In the lead DiLallo isn't anything special having to look shocked most of the time and Eastwood (daughter of Clint) just can't pull off the bad-assery her role requires. By far the best performance in the flick belongs to Hughes, in his first and only film, who has both the looks and attitude to be a super crazy cult leader-type.

They Are Among Us is one of those movies where, as soon as it's over, you could care less about what just happened. I spent a lot of the time looking at the minutes click by on my player and getting distracted by various things sitting on the coffee table. This is not a good sign. There's been a fair share of decent low-budget alien invasion efforts (The Deadly Spawn and Predator jump to mind instantly), but there's nothing here to grasp onto. Hell, even Abel Ferrara's THIRD remake Body Snatchers had more interesting things going on underneath the surface to keep you watching - this merely kept me waiting for it to end. (Chris Hartley, 11/21/12)

Directed By: Jeffrey Obrow.
Written By: Lars Hauglie.

Starring: Alison Eastwood, Michael DiLallo, Nana Visitor, Michael Orr Hughes.