Aberration (1997)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Tim Boxell Reviewer :
Writers Scott Lew, Darrin Oura
Starring Pamela Gidley, Simon Bossell, Valeriy Nikolaev
Genre Creature Feature
Tagline Where civilisation ends the nightmare begins
15 second cap Blood thirsty geckos terrorise young woman and locals, much blood ensues


"Tourist season is over. It's the mean season. - Mr Peterson

Amy Harding is heading out to her family's isolated cabin with her cat, two goldfish, and $50k she purloined from her gangster boyfriend. As luck would have it a cold snap is underway with a snow storm expected real soon. Amy gets herself settled in the cabin and besides being a bit unsettled by her next door neighbour, Mr Peterson, who has some Keas loose in the top paddock if you catch my drift, is happy with a romance novel, a bath, and isolated bliss. That is till she discovers some vermin has attack the cake she was planning to knock off while reading her book.

Biologist Marshall Clarke is also tramping around the region but is more concerned about the sudden disappearance of wild life in the vicinity. When Marshall and Amy meet they discover something has happened to the local gecko population, said lizards turning into blood thirsty killing machines that are evolving alarmingly with each new generation and more problematically rising up the food chain at a rapid rate. Can our duo survive ravenous geckos of doom, the cold that has hit the region like a final statement by God, and Amy's ex Uri who arrives wanting his money? A surprisingly entertaining movie ensues; let's lay out the greeting mat for the lizard king.

There was this weird period in New Zealand dark genre cinema where the locals decided that the movies should be set in the United States, clearly trying for some action at the tills of Horror central, but more perversely featuring Australian Actors! Naturally this didn't work out so well with at least three movies I'm aware of simply disappearing below dark genre radars and at the most being remembered as something of oddities in the greater scheme of things. Aberration is one of those movies, and with the generous help of NZ Videos we're aiming to shed some light on this lost classic of "B" grade goodness. While New Zealand dark genre historians should of course be dialling in, I also firmly believe "B" grade creature feature enthusiasts will dig what Director Boxell, here presenting his debut feature, has planned for the unwary movie buff.

First up Aberration is firmly in "B" movie territory. We have dialogue that will have you either slamming your head on your coffee table to make it stop or more probably laughing your arse off, "welcome to the bottom of the food chain". Acting that can charitably be called amateur dramatic society level. Locations that make no bloody sense to locals, were the Southern Alps moved by Maui since I last visited New Zealand? And of course the most appallingly silly plot you could possibly hope to fall over in a drunken stupor. Naturally I was lapping the whole thing up like a homeless person scoring a bottle of McWilliams sweet sherry. On the bright side of the scale Aberration at no time takes itself seriously, realising that it exists in that perpetual twilight of bad movie goodness. Yes folks we're talking a movie so bad that's it's actually a hoot to watch. The Asylum guys should check this one out before boring us all to death with yet another of their almost insufferable giant creature features. Aberration knows what it is, knows what the potential audience lured in by the cover wants, and delivers it in spades. In short the movie delivers exactly what it promises to deliver, and really you can't ask for anything more.

First requirement of a "B" grade creature feature is some outlandish gore and mayhem. While the body count might be low in these one, three humans, a cat, a dog, two goldfish, we get half devoured bodies, geckos tunnelling into heads, and all manner of bites and torn up flesh. Toward the end of this movie there's a bit of impromptu surgery going down that should please even the most cynical of Gorehounds, all about spikes on backbones, ouch!

The Kiwis hit creature feature schlock with all guns blazing, this one rocks yo!

Naturally we also venture into the realm of T&A, what "B" grade flick outside Asylum crud would be complete without some flesh being flashed? Once again we're on meagre rations however with Pamela Gidley going bare arsed naked at one stage and did I detect a hint of boob or not? Other than that nothing to write dispatches about to keep the home fires burning. Sorry Ladies Simon Bossell keeps it all under wraps, kind of like a nun really.

Where Aberration does come into it's own is with the creature feature part of the entertainment. We're talking geckos evolving in entirely mean fashion. Okay so they have claws and nasty looking teeth, but they also spit venom and even in one scene develop gills. With this sort of rabid evolution I'm hoping for a sequel with the lizard horde descending on Auckland or Wellington or whichever City is closest to the fictional setting of the movie. One of the Weta guys was brought in as a consultant so yeap we get props rather than CGI to rock out to!

Director Tim Boxell is on his game behind the camera with some solid build up through the first block of the movie. Lots of creature POV and menacing angles to keep you guessing when the first attack might go down, and yes there are some attempts at shock tactics including the obligatory thrown cat. About the only problem I had with Boxell was with some of the camera switches being slightly too abrupt, though that might be down to post shooting tampering in the editing room. Boxell seems to get on top of the issue through the second and third blocks, but it is noticeable in the first block.

Guess that about covers it, I should mention the movie has a rocking soundtrack featuring some solid Downunder talent, personal favourite "Cruise Control" by The Headless Chickens. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how good this aspect of the movie was.

Clearly I had a good time with the flick, but then again I don't mind creature feature outings or "B" grade schlock. If you aren't bothered about things being slightly silly then dive on in here, the movie will repay your efforts. Not entirely sure if Aberration is available on DVD but the true voyager through the Dark genre Downunder should be able to find a VHS copy.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Surprisingly energetic creatue movie out of Kiwiland, worth spending some time with.