Decoys (2004) - Let me say right up front I kinda like this movie, there are things in it that are appealing and not just all the hot young women that fill the screen, although no harm there. It does some writing things well as far as foreshadowing and moving the plot through action. For all it does well though there are some really hap handed things that drag it into mediocrity. So lets get into it. Decoys starts on Halloween, kids are trick and treating, costumes and the such and we come in and follow a college age guy into his buddies house. It is too quiet, way too quiet. He creeps into the living room and it appears his friend is watching static on the television. He moves around the couch to see his dead friend. Here is something I like, because it is Halloween the dude is initial scared by the corpse but then thinks it is a prank. Only after he sees the second friend dead in the corner does he freak. It was a small nice touch. The scene does not play into the film until much later when the final turn refers back to it, but it is also a good establishing scene for the kind of death we are to see.
Two months later in the heart of winter the movie picks up on a college campus. A Hollywood style college campus where all the women are way too hot, we see the dorms and various hotties ending on an artist doing sculpture with a blow torch, I looked at my wife at this point and said "We are going to see that flame thrower again." as it was one of those obvious visuals to set up something later. Two guys head to the laundry room to do clothes, Luke (Corey Sevier), our lead and his roommate Roger (Elias Toufexis). Here we get a bit of character development, with Luke the more responsible freshman and Roger already into partying. There is also the open window in the dead of winter. The guys close it after commenting but here it is a smarter written foreshadowing since laundry rooms get hot it sort of makes sense that someone may have opened the window. You could think nothing of it even though it is winter, it plays into the plot and is not too obvious.
Luke is a lucky guy because after sharing a few brews with Roger he comes back to the laundry room and is joined by the lovely Lilly (Stephanie von Pfetten) and Constance (Kim Poirer) who flirt relentlessly and in a clunky piece of "I have to give Luke a reason to go to the girls room" thinking, Lilly OBVIOUSLY leaves her roll of quarters in the room before they leave. He heads up and finds the room oddly empty, super clean and the window open, it is freezing in there. I like the touch of letting the audience know there is something up with these chicks by leaving a Yanni cd on the night table. Something ain't right there! Luke does not have to wait long to find out either as the plot immediately picks up. He hears the girls coming and does not want to be caught smelling their nighties so he hides in the closet. He gets to see what at first he thinks is some hot lesbian loving but instead after they get mostly naked Constance sprays Lilly with liquid nitrogen. Shit and all the tentacles that spring from her stomach really seem to like it. So we now after not much time know that these two chicks are not right, and most likely aliens from outer space. So does our main character but since he was drinking he will naturally doubt what he saw. In fact most of us under the influence will rationalize the things we see so makes a bit of sense. SO when he is with his crew of Roger, Alex (Meghan Ory), and DJ Nathan, uh Gibby (Ennis Esmer) they are reluctant to believe him. There are some subtle hints in here about who is what but the director and cowriter Mathew Hastings (with Tom Berry) does a good job at misleading later so the ending can be a surprise to the audience. I have seen way to many of these kind of films to be fooled though to the final turn was not surprising.
Roger is a virgin looking to get laid and alien Constance is just the solution he needs. So the gang heads to the blondes sorority house for a party where he hopes to get lucky. Although after seeing the girls flirt luck does not seem to be a factor in it. Lilly makes another move on Luke, with some sweet kissing but something about the memory of seeing tentacles spring from her abdomen turns him off so she moves onto the college hockey star. I really liked that they got the hockey star Bobby (Marc Trottier) to read something at the mic and he could barely read. Very funny. When Luke ends up in a fight with him though he is totally overmatched and has to say No Mas! It is really all for the best because when Lilly and Bobby head out into the cold for some nookie she shoves those tentacles right down his throat, it could have been our boy Luke. At the same time Constance is aggressively attempting to get Roger into the same position but since they are in the bathroom of the sorority he does not want his first time to be so down and dirty. She is annoyed but lets him off the hook for now.
Oobvious set piece number three when the next day the roommates talk about Rogers heart medication. Okay so now we know there will be a heart failure for poor old Rog. Geeze! They are interrupted by a knock on the door and Amanda (former Baywatch babe Nicole Eggert) a cop is there to get Luke for questioning in the death of Hockey player Bobby. Now here is the biggest problem with the rest of the film. Amanda is a bit more than 10 years older than Luke and they have a history, she dumped him. Besides the fact that he must have been in high school at the time, the script does nothing with this information. It is like there used to be a storyline there but it was edited out leaving these traces that do nothing for the story. It almost seems like later they wanted to give Luke a choice between Amanda and Alex but because the Amanda part is so stunted it is never really a choice.
Then there is Detective Francis Kirk (Richard Burgi), who plays his part as dickhead cop like William Shatner plays Capt. Kirk in Star Trek, meaning way over the top. He is horrible and distracting because he is so bad. Maybe that is what he was going for but damn it did not work. It could be that Kirk was going to be a love interest with the other cop Amanda. At some point in the screenwriting it felt like maybe there was more there where Kirk's motivation included knowing that Luke once was involved with Amanda. What ever the reason he and the cops in general have really no purpose in the outcome of the movie.
The film becomes Luke and Alex trying to capture evidence of the aliens, the Detective suspecting he is the killer, Alex puppy dogging around after Luke wishing he would spend more time noticing her and trying to look out for his friend. Luke knows something is going on and the aliens are killing people but does not know the full story. We as the audience get the full story pretty quick through our boy Gibby and the alien Constance. She takes him out to a graveyard crypt. After making it Gibby is a Popsicle and Constance is disappointed. It is obvious that the alien woman don't want the dudes to freeze solid and so there is some sympathy for them. In this scene there is a from inside Gibby's mouth camera shot. You gotta love that
Luke puts the pieces together slower than you may like but in the end he realizes what is going on. These aliens are trying and failing to breed with man. On the I could do without side, I could do without the dreaded musical interlude, there were three of them in this movie, once when Luke is seducing Lilly on web cam to get evidence, once when a major character dies, and one at the end when Alex and Luke finally hook up. I hate them they only serve to piss me off.
I am not going to talk about how the alien invasion is stopped. When Luke gets his plan together to fight them, he goes off the rails. His acting fails him completely almost like he thought acting poorly would be a good thing. I don't know if he was going for laughs? Some of the dialog in the climax is really poor and he delivers those lines with gusto that is laughable. "Belt of Orion? How about belt of O frying!" Then there is the less than stellar special effects, we get some cgi reveals of the aliens true form that are not really very good. Oh the film has such potential why can't they execute?
In the end though with all the things I didn't like about this film, I enjoyed watching it. Maybe it is the girls are hot, or that the script does a good job selling them as not really evil. They are just trying to survive and they can have feelings too. (sob :( ) Decoys is an annoying little fun flick that could have been better but goes on my bad but I liked it list.
Rating (5.1) 5.0 and up are recommended, in the Zombiegrrlz system I would Rent it.