Alien Autopsy – Whilst in the USA looking to buy Elvis memorabilia to sell for a profit back home, Ray Santilli is instead offered the purchase of a silent movie from 1947 that shows the autopsy of an alien being. Ray ropes in friend Gary Shoefield and procures money from a gangster investor in order to purchase the film, but on return to the UK is distraught to find it ruined in transit. With a violent gangster chasing him, Ray will have to try to replicate the film using friends, a living room, and some makeshift props. What he doesn’t bank on is that the cobbled together footage might just convince the world…..

Alien Autopsy (2006) – Director: Jonny Campbell

alien autopsy movie poster suitable for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 95 mins

Starring: Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly, Bill Pullman

Genre: Fantasy, Comedy, Action/Adventure

REVIEW: ‘ALIEN AUTOPSY’

Based on the ‘true’ story of Ray Santilli and friend Gary Shoefield, Alien Autopsy is a comedy telling of how Ray saw what he believed to be a true alien autopsy video, accidentally destroyed it, made a fake one to replace it, and then sold the rights to the fake video as the world was temporarily convinced of its truth. That certainly does sound like an excellent story for the telling. So it is more the pity that we don’t get it here.

‘Alien Autopsy’ certainly isn’t bad. The comedy pairing of beloved UK TV presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly is always watchable and their back and forth is polished in the way that only decades working together can produce. There are several great gags, the framing device of Ray and Gary breaking their silence to talk to a documentary film crew 10 years after the events took place, and the actual autopsy itself are all well done and engaging. But the rest of the movie is framed squarely in the ‘Brit flick comedy’ trope. So Ray is the cheeky minor criminal while Gary is the uptight straight man and the supporting cast are all one-dimensional one-joke characters. Once the autopsy is over and Ray and Gary start making cash out of their creation, the film takes a dull path down the tried and tested ‘one party lets success get to their head whilst lifelong friend is neglected’ plot line.

Similarly hard to stomach is the sudden shift in tone in the last 20 minutes of the film. For most of the run time things remain in the light-hearted area, even with a violent gangster making threats. But come the final Act there is suddenly gratuitous sex noises and ramped up bad language a-plenty, almost as if the producers wanted a 12 rating and were worried that the movie up to that point would only have been PG.

Despite a wonky tonal approach and rather disposal Brit flick sensibility, there is fun to be had with the Ant and Dec pairing and the ‘will they get away with this’ intrigue. It’s worth a watch, but unlike what actually happened in reality with the alien autopsy video Ray and Gary created, you will hardly be throwing money at it to see it again.

CONTENT: IS ‘ALIEN AUTOPSY’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN

Ray’s entire business model is illegally pirating goods. He has aspirations to date a ‘page 3 girl’ (a reference to a UK national newspaper that typically has a picture of topless models on page 3). He also has a friend who runs a ‘coke business’.

Voros is a violent Hungarian gangster. We hear someone shouting inside his boat as if they are in danger, although we don’t see what happens. Later, he fires a gun off camera and shoots a seagull.

When trying to convince friends to film a faked autopsy movie Ray asks a female character if she’d like to make a movie, to which she replies that she won’t ‘take (my) top off again’.

Ray mimes part of the autopsy by pretending to slice open his gut and acting innards falling out. He describes peeling back skin.

The fake alien is supposed to mimic the alien that Ray claims to have seen in the original film. He describes a leg injury – burnt and broken. This is replicated in the replacement.

The replacement alien is made out of a mannequin and meat cuts. Once the replacement autopsy begins we see a lot of autopsy detail, including a scalpel cutting a line across the neck and chest, removal of a bloody heart and nondescript ‘tubes’ (which are cut with scissors), film removed from eyes, peeling back the ‘face’, sawing into the ‘skull’ and removing the brain.

Voros threatens to ‘break every bone in (your) body’ and shows his threatening dogs when Ray visits.

A naked character is run over by a green Land Rover. The camera pans up and impact happens below shot.

A woman seduces Ray. He is staying in the same hotel as Gary and we see Gary in a scene where Ray and the woman can be heard noisily having sex in a different room. The noises are over the top and exaggerated.

One character tells another to ‘kill yourself’.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT: IS ‘ALIEN AUTOPSY’ FOR KIDS

It’s hard to work out who ‘Alien Autopsy’ is for and its low budget approach shows. The movie’s plot isn’t child-centric and whilst the movie’s first two Acts are, for the most part, light enough in tone to be enjoyed by older children, the shift into sexual content and bad language in the last Act might be too much for some parents. With that and a rather graphic (if comical) autopsy scene, we would suggest that Alien Autopsy is not suitable for children under 12.

  • Violence: 2/5 (violence is more implied or threatened rather than seen. The autopsy scene, whilst interspersed with plenty of comedy, has ‘gory’ moments)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (Gary struggles to deal with the pressure that he and Ray are under)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (Voros can be very threatening)
  • Sexual Content: 4/5 (several innuendo references, talk of topless models, posters of women in lingerie, exaggerated sex noises in an off-camera sex scene)
  • Bad Language: 4/5 (oddly, after only a few examples in the first 3 quarters of the movie, the last 20 minutes or so comes out with a slew of bad language ranging from moderate to strong)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (several verbal threats and verbal descriptions of autopsy procedures)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of not letting success get to your head, making poor deals that you can’t back out of, conspiracy theories, relying on friends to pull together, the corruption of power, and alien life.

Words by Michael Record

Alien Autopsy (Ant & Dec) [DVD] [2006]


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