Alien Outbreak Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by High Octane Pictures


Written and directed by Neil Rowe
2020, 84 minutes, Not Rated
Released on 11th February 2020

Katherine Drake as Sgt Zoe Norris
Ritchie Crane as Patrick
Philip Alexander Baker as Mitchell
Michael Terry as Dale


English people begin acting strangely when they become trapped under quarantine in a small rural town. Quick, hide the toilet paper! There are no viruses to blame here though; this is an all-out war of the worlds, and the hub of an alien invasion. Police Sergeant Zoe Norris is caught in the middle, attempting to fend off the alien outbreak and stop the residents of her community from committing mass suicide. As the aliens bear down on the survivors, she and fellow officer Patrick hole up in the police station and attempt to survive the night.

alien outbreak 01 alien outbreak 02

This low-budget sci-fi thriller marries a tight, taut story with surprisingly great CGI. Given the initial look and feel of the film, it'd be reasonable to expect not to see much of director Neil Rowe's aliens. However, when they make their (surprisingly early) first appearance, they're entirely effective – reminiscent of the Robodogs from Black Mirror. As a showcase of VFX artist Rowe's skills, the film is a resounding success.

Thankfully, Alien Outbreak is more than just empty VFX spectacle. The story is simple but effective, like a cross between George A. Romero's The Crazies and The Mist. Although the cinematography can be too murky at times (someone turn on the lights!) it boasts great atmosphere and a consistently chilly mood. Breaking up the alien horrors with human drama and practical gore effects, it does a good job of managing its budget, ensuring that there is still plenty of action sandwiched between the scenes that exist just to show off Rowe's freaky alien creations.

alien outbreak 03 alien outbreak 04

Some more urgency wouldn't go amiss though – although the pace is quick and the story nips along at a healthy clip, it does so in a quiet, deliberate manner. The cast too, sleepwalk through the action, like they're in an episode of The X-Files. Rather that than the usual annoying overacting which tends to populate low-budget filmmaking, but it is a shame that the performances here couldn't have been to the same standard as everything else.

Rowe may not be an actor's director, but he knows his way around the scares. Even though I was less than enthused with the human cast (however well-written the characters may be), I was nevertheless on the edge of my seat waiting to see more of his aliens and their robo-pets. The film is sparing with its creatures, leaving the audience wanting more, but never skimping too much. It's a fine line between too much and too little, and this one gets it just about right.

alien outbreak 05 alien outbreak 06

Alien Outbreak is a surprisingly sharp, well-directed little thriller with a gripping story and extremely cool special effects. It falters somewhat when it comes to the human side of things, but not so much that it detracts from what has been achieved here.


Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover

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Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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