Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Probably Better Than the Geico Cavemen TV Show

To 21st century Western audiences, the first thing we picture when someone shouts the word “Gecko!” (as they do so often) is, I assume, a computer animated auto insurance mascot with an admittedly adorable British accent. Strange to think that just two decades past, these fringe lizards were considered terrifying.

Or not. But in 1997, someone sure decided to make a movie about them on a killing spree!

Quick Plot: Amy is a mysterious pink-haired traveler heading back to her family’s childhood winter cabin. In tow is a pair of goldfish, her loyal cat Frankie, and a bag of hundred dollar bills that surely came from honest hard work. It seems like Amy will be enjoying a quiet, relaxing vacation until rat-like critters start swiping Frankie’s wet food and eating Amy’s cake.

At the general store, Amy grabs some traps and catches the attention of Marshall, a nerdy young biologist doing his own research on some of the animal life in the region. The pair head home to discover the creatures in question are actually some new species of geckos (that sadly don’t speak with British accents) who seem to possess a unique and terriffffyiiiiing  ability to instantly evolve with their surroundings.

Oh yeah, and they killed Frankie.

Now up to this point, Amy (as played by Pamela Gidley) has been likable in a cute-quirky kinda way. Most of her dialogue was one-sided conversations with her beloved feline, so you assume that finding him filleted on her bathroom floor would be traumatizing to our lonely heroine.

Were I to discover Mookie or Joplin’s corpse, there would be, to put it mildly, a Peckinpah-esque reckoning. I woud pop heads from bodies, chew ears off in one bite, sever genitals with my feet, and breathe fire upon whatever bits might be left.

Point is: you do not f*ck with a crazy cat lady’s kids.

Every film has a turning point, and some have turning points built in for their audience. In the case of Aberration, my opinion on this film turned when Amy treated the death of her cat as an excuse to make awful one-liners.

I am sensitive that way.

Also, Aberration isn’t THAT good to begin with. It has a refreshingly different premise and up to a certain point, the actors are likable enough to sell the material, but the film never seems to decide whether it wants to go full-out horror or Evil Dead winky humor. The monsters are adorable cheap puppets that add plenty of charm, but the style doesn’t fully embrace its more ridiculous elements. Once the danger becomes apparent, the dialogue becomes sarcastic but not clever as the characters treat the man-eating gecko thingies more like a minor annoyance than life-threatening enemy. You almost wonder if director Tim Boxell realized while filming that he couldn’t achieve true horror, so he started to switch the tone on the fly.

It doesn’t quite work. Once Marshall (Simon Bosell, whose name rhymes with the director’s and causes me to suspect shenanigans) takes center stage, the film seems to want to harness some sort of heroic nerd power theme. But Bosell doesn’t quite seem up to the task of channeling Bruce Campbell. By this point, we’ve already seen the cute ugly gecko puppet thingies played off as less threatening than the third act Russian mobster (trust me), so to treat the monsters as truly dangerous just doesn’t work. And all Amy can do is moan about being cold and not, you know, ABOUT HOW THEY KILLED HER CAT.

Maybe I’m just biased on this one.

High Points
Geckos! Puppet geckos! I don’t care how silly they may be: they’re something new. And slightly cute.

Although the cut between human actor and prothetic puppetry is quite obvious, it still must be said that the gore of the extremely low budget Aberration is actually quite groovy

Low Points
Overall, the messy tone of the film. It's almost charming, but also, you know, not that good. It's nice to see actors try to embrace their inner goof, but when it doesn't work, it just comes off as annoying

Lessons Learned
If planning on stealing money from you dangerous thug boyfriend, try to avoid hiding in the very place you used to spend hours telling him about

Geckos don’t have teeth!

Nobody robs from Yuri

Awkward Line That Makes You Realize Your CCL Level
“No, you can’t get in the bath with me,” quotes the woman to her cat. At least I’m not the only one who’s had to say that…to her cat

Aberration isn’t readily available, but those with Netflix Instant Watch can catch it in its fuzzy glory. The film isn’t necessarily worth a big time investment, but at a brisk 90 minutes, it’s not the worst background filler to have on while playing laser pointer with your cat. I can’t see myself having any desire to revisit Aberration, but it was a breezy time waster and heck: I’ve seen worse. Then again, it probably won’t save you money on your car insurance so really, what’s the point?


  1. Does Mookie hang out with Buggin' Out and Radio Raheem? :)

    I actually reviewed this movie too. I think I noted that it seemed to have a sizable Tarantino influence.

  2. This looks fantastically stupid and awesome all at the same time. Is it on Netflix?

    P.S. I thought the Geico Gecko was an Aussie?

  3. Instant Watch baby!

    And you know, I also always thought the Geico Gecko was Australian, then years of people calling him British seeped into my head and now I just don't know what to believe...

  4. Nope, Geico Gecko is British cockney (well, not that there's cockney accents anywhere else), not Australian.

    And screwing with a crazy cat dude's cats is also slightly unadvisable, given my cats hunt and kill snakes in the summer! Luckily that only happened a couple of times about two years ago. My three-legged cat Zebra caught four, FOUR mice last night! She'd leave the geckos filleted on the bathroom floor!

  5. By the way, have you ever seen Marabunta (or Legion of Fire: Killer Ants as it's also known)? Aberration sounds a bit like it (although Marabunta is MILES better!)

  6. Now that you say it, he does have an ever so slight Michael Caine vocal resemblance.

    Joplin can catch flies and moths and I'll occasionally throw her at big spiders to let nature decide things, but I don't think her or Mookie would stand a chance against the killer geckos in the film. I'm glad yours are tougher!

    Have I seen Marabunta? Not that I know of? I don't think so? But I will as soon as I can!