A mysterious object crash lands on Earth near a remote Australian town. Town sheriff Jo Sharp (Jolene Anderson), her schoolteacher sister Samantha (Stef Dawson) and inexplicably American geologist Angela (Cassandra Magrath) discover people around town coming into contact with the object become murderous zombies. Aided by deputy Luke (Richard Davies) Jo tries to rally the survivors only to find the town engulfed by a strange giant dust cloud that prevents anyone from leaving. Things get even worse when a freakish alien monster arrives at the scene although there may be more to its rampage than meets the eye.
International distributors seemingly re-titled this Australian sci-fi horror, released originally as The Daywalker, in order to bait genre fans with allusions to the Alien movies. Yet Alien Parasite leans a little closer to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (particularly Philip Kaufman's 1978 version from where it lifts the concept of screeching infectees) by way of The Birds (1963) (whose influence can be felt in a lot of its staging) with a dash of John Carpenter thrown in. Because frankly all sci-fi horror movies need a dash of Carpenter. The isolated Aussie outback setting is already a fairly unsettling location, but writer-director Sandra Sciberass does a good job building an understated aura of unease, driven foremost by character interaction.
Sciberass' screenplay weaves a faint allegory about small town milieus getting their hooks into people and not letting them leave. However once the infected townsfolk give way to the giant computer animated alien beastie the film shifts its attention to long, drawn out suspense sequences and gives up on fleshing out its subtext. The initial understated creepiness gives way to action sequences rendered a little slapdash by the super low budget. For the most part the film’s slow build works in its favour despite the odd instance where you wish they would just pick up the pace. On the positive side the cast are uniformly good. Led by genre veterans Anderson, Dawson (who had a reoccurring role in The Hunger Games series) and Magrath (star of landmark Aussie horror Wolf Creek (2005), they lend an outlandish sci-fi premise some welcome verisimilitude. Also worth mentioning the climactic plot twist is both unexpected and interesting, steering the story in a fresh direction while leaving things frustratingly inconclusive.