Last week, a bunch of high-ranking military officials went before the US Congress and admitted that the government has been aware of the existence of aliens and that remains of extraterrestrials had been recovered from UFO crash sites. But the public at large was relatively unphased by this news because we’re already so wrapped up in our own problems. How much more shocking can an alien invasion be to say, a global pandemic or a climate crisis?
Seeing The Becomers at the Fantasia Film Festival reflected this mood. The sci-fi rom-com indie satire drops a pair of aliens into a distracted and troubled world much like our own. It was written and directed by Zach Clark (Little Sister) in the early days of COVID-19, joining the leagues of post-pandemic flicks like Sick and Corona Zombies.
“…the film has an unworldly feeling to it…”
In The Becomers, an alien has landed on earth, having escaped their planet on the brink of collapse. The being has the ability to take over the body of humans, so it jumps from vessel to vessel until it finds a comfortable disguise. But when suspicion grows and the police come a-knocking, the alien can simply take over another body and melt its previous body with its acidic vomit. During this time, the alien is searching for its lost lover, separated from them when they left their planet. After many lonely nights, the two find each other and take refuge in the bodies of a married couple. However, the aliens are unprepared for the dark secrets hiding below the surface of their suburban life, throwing them into an underbelly of conspiracy-fueled cults and corrupt politicians.
Throughout the film, narration (provided by Sparks brother Russell Mael) paints a picture of what happened back on the aliens’ home planet. Little by little, we learn that they too experienced a global shutdown, similar to our pandemic. For a time, the alien lovers pretended everything was normal, until work dried up and depression settled in. They took vaccines hoping it would cure the situation, but ultimately, were left with no choice but to evacuate in escape pods and search for a new home.
The Becomers brings to mind another body-snatching movie that also premiered at Fantasia called Lifechanger, except this one is injected with some much-needed comedy. It’s funny to see the aliens adapt to human society, though they learn a lot quicker than most fish-out-of-water scenarios (by the second body, the alien is already wearing a mask underneath its chin). Most people who encounter the aliens in human form interpret their odd behavior as some deep psychological disturbance as a result of trauma.
The actors, particularly Molly Plunk (Little Sister), Mike Lopez (All Jacked Up and Full of Worms) and Keith Kelly (There May Be Ghosts), do a great job of playing their characters before and after assimilation. It was easy to believe they were embodied by aliens based on their mannerisms and facial expressions.
“It takes an outsider perspective like our protagonists’ in The Becomers to grasp how truly bizarre humans are…”
The aliens are distinguished with their glowing eyes, which they hide behind sunglasses or contacts. Outside of their shell, they have an insectoid appearance. This is where the production’s low budget begins to show, though we’re only treated to a few frames of the aliens’ true form. Inside their human disguises, they have orifices on their sides, which they finger when making sweet alien love, discharging a gooey brightly colored ooze, squishy noises included. Overall, the film has an unworldly feeling to it, heightened by its mirrored establishing shots and a heavy industrial noise score.
It takes an outsider perspective like our protagonists’ in The Becomers to grasp how truly bizarre humans are, and how much stranger we’ve become in reaction to historic events in the past few years. For a film that was quickly written and shot in Chicago during a time of isolation, it has a lot of heart and will strike a chord with anyone who was remotely conscious during that period. So I say, let the aliens come and live here. It’s only a matter of time before they leave again once they realize that everything is expensive and on fire.
“…written and shot in Chicago during a time of isolation, it has a lot of heart and will strike a chord…”
Zach Clark’s The Becomers celebrated its world premiere at the 2023 Fantasia Film Festival. Click HERE to follow our continued coverage of the festival and let us know if you actually care whether or not aliens exist over Twitter, Threads, or in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord! Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.
[#Fantasia2023 Review] Body-Snatching Aliens Find Love in Sci-Fi Satire THE BECOMERS
It takes an outsider perspective like our protagonists’ in The Becomers to grasp how truly bizarre humans are, and how much stranger we’ve become in reaction to historic events in the past few years. For a film that was quickly written and shot in Chicago during a time of isolation, it has a lot of heart and will strike a chord with anyone who was remotely conscious during that period.
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