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  Alien Addiction Don't Do Drugs
Year: 2018
Director: Shae Sterling
Stars: Jimi Jackson, Thomas Sainsbury, JoJo Waaka, Harry Summerfield, Ayham Ghalayini, Tane Huata, Tukairangi Maxwell, Veronica Edwards, Steven Samuel Johnston, Troy Kingi, Mel Price, Kelvin Taylor, Phoebe Loloma Trezevant-Miller
Genre: Comedy, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Riko (Jimi Jackson) and his three friends like to hang out, shoot the breeze, and get high, nothing too taxing as they're here on Earth to have a good time, not worry themselves with anything important. They live in smalltown New Zealand, nestled in the hills which is out of the way enough to offer a very decent view of the skies above and that's why footage of a large meteor is captured on a local's phone camera as it streaks through the clouds and lands somewhere nearby to Jimi. He doesn't think much of it, but the event has attracted the attention of UFO hunter Peter Mackintosh (Thomas Sainsbury) who is convinced the meteor arrived as cover to an actual flying saucer from outer space. And do you know what? He's absolutely correct...

The name that sprang to most people's minds, among those who watched Alien Addiction, was Peter Jackson - the basic humour, the stunning scenery, the essentially genre-centred storyline all indicated a style that owed much to Jackson's innovations in his earliest movies. But while he was something of a pioneer, he was not the only person from New Zealand to make a low budget comedy, horror or science fiction flick, as the nation had a surprisingly durable tradition of ingenuity over budget efforts that may have leaned on the crude when it came to securing their laughs (or not, as the case may have been - but undoubtedly was throughout here).

The biggest name in this canon around the point this was released was Taika Waititi, and he had started in this kind of thing as well. Your director for proceedings here was Shae Sterling, and he had experience before he had taken up his camera to shoot this absurdity, mostly in the realm of music videos, so he knew his way around the technology and where to place it. Obviously making the most of a drone he had managed to gain the services of, there were some highly attractive shots of the landscape and forestry, which was offset, to say the least, with the adolescent nature of the plot which saw Riko stumbling across the flying saucer which contains a couple of wacky aliens, completely with pot bellies, black jumpsuits and domed, blue heads sporting tiny faces.

They converse in a language not unlike Greedo in Star Wars, but luckily acquire a translator device to explain to Riko why they surprised him in the shower that morning: they weren't after his body, they were after his excrement, which they convert into fumes they get high on through an interstellar bong. You read that right, the aliens literally smoke shit rather than "shit" as Riko and his mates know it, that is, hash, pot, marijuana, skunk, whatever you want to call it. If that has you pondering that you really don't need this in your life, then you would be wise to stay away since that was the level of the gags, but if it has made you chuckle, then you would be recommended to give Alien Addiction a go, since while it was a very parochial sense of humour it was peddling, there was a - is charm the right word?

An amusement factor, anyway, to watching what amounted to a bunch of idiots getting mired in ridiculous adventures all either in Mackintosh's pursuit of the aliens or the aliens' pursuit of faeces. It was reminiscent of the nineteen-nineties take on space denizens, who were here to blow our minds should we let them, but also had a subversive, druggy and in this case cheerfully scatological approach to cosmic existence. The cast may not have been accomplished, but they did not need to be, and their game for anything willingness to look ludicrous was a big reason why this didn't sink into obnoxiousness as it might have, in fact there was a bizarre innocence about it, as if they hadn't thought it through but were going for it regardless of the consequences to whatever reputation they laid claim to. That was largely thanks to its disarming sincerity, unexpected in something that leaned into its, yes, bad taste: it wasn't a horror by any means, but you could imagine these guys making one with much the same methods. Cult status awaited.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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