Terminal Invasion (2002) | Oddur B.T. | Review – The Global Tofay

Terminal Invasion (2002) | Oddur B.T. | Review - The Global Tofay Global Today



Review




Terminal Invasion (2012)



Director

Sean S. Cunningham

Writers

Lewis Abernathy, John Jarrell and Robinson Young

Cast

Bruce Campbell, Chase Masterson, C. David Johnson, Kedar Brown, Andrew Tarbet, Sarah Lafleur, Marcia Bennet, Jason Jones and Stephen Joffe

“Afraid my list of wicked deeds is too long” – Jack

Inside an isolated airport, a group of people learn that their charter flight has been grounded. Things don’t get any better when two guards escort convicted murderer Jack (Campbell) to the premises after their car skidded off the road. But soon things get even worse as the group discovers that some may not be who, or what, they appear to be. An alien invasion is taking place and it begins at this terminal.

“Terminal Invasion” – clever title! This is basically a smaller scale reworking of “The Thing” as a group of people find themselves isolated in snowbound surroundings and fighting a foe that can hide among them. The film has the distinction of being the first original production for the SyFy Channel and everything about it screams low-budget. There’s only a handful of locations, the visual effects are really cheesy,  the actors range from B to much lower in the alphabet and it’s shot on digital…so there’s no disguising it’s humble origins. But it’s got a couple of aces up it’s sleeve and does well what it sets out to do.

Terminal Invasion (2002) | Oddur B.T. | Review - The Global Tofay Global Today

One of the aces is B-movie icon Bruce Campbell. While fans (and he’s got legions of those) are used to seeing him a bit over the top; here he’s relatively subdued and gives a rather nuanced performance with few, if any, punchy one liners. His Jack (never given a last name although the back of the Blu-ray cover lists it as “Edwards”) is a stoic leading man who says he could care less about his fellow humans once he realizes he can make a break for it. But the script doesn’t allow him to be a complete anti-hero as Jack proves to be quite the decent guy in a pinch and helps others out. Campbell is always a treat to watch and obviously believes in same philosophy as the late Christopher Lee once said; “Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them”. That said; “Terminal Invasion” is far from terrible but Campbell has made some stinkers but he always delivers.

The other ace is seasoned director Sean S. Cunningham’s (“Friday the 13th” and “DeepStar Six”) delivery of the material. In lesser hands this mediocre script coupled with the meagre production values would undoubtedly have resulted in a lesser film. Cunningham knows how to wring tension and maximize suspense from no-frills set ups and thanks to his skill “Terminal Invasion” has a few quite good set-pieces that work well. This could well prove to be his final feature length film as a director and sadly for us he didn’t make more flicks.

Terminal Invasion (2002) | Oddur B.T. | Review - The Global Tofay Global Today

As said earlier; the script isn’t exactly meaty and introduces some cardboard characters. There’s a pilot, a bickering couple, an elderly employee, a security guard, the annoying yuppie type who considers himself a notch above the rest, the custom dude with slang and an attitude, a military type and two kids. Who’s an alien and who’s human? Things resolve in relatively quick fashion as the film clocks in at around 80 minutes sans credits. Masterson, as pilot Cathy Garret, is the only other actor to make an impression while others range from fair to fairly bad.

Terminal Invasion (2002) | Oddur B.T. | Review - The Global Tofay Global Today

There is one scene here worth mentioning. To suss out who’s who the group gets the idea of sending each other through an X-ray baggage detector and this really reminds one of a key scene from “John Carpenter’s The Thing”. It’s a small scene, not that well acted but it’s a huge credit to Cunningham how well it works as it’s quite the set-piece in displaying visually just enough as to avoid embarrassment in effects terms and maximizing good old fashioned suspense.

Terminal Invasion (2002) | Oddur B.T. | Review - The Global Tofay Global Today

I’ve watched “Terminal Invasion” a few times. It gets better and undoubtedly I’ll watch it a few more times.



Physical Copy

My copy of “Terminal Invasion” is the region A Blu-ray issued by Kino Lorber in 2023. It looks decent enough in High definition but this was shot on digital so this is never going to look pristine. But very watchable though. There’s an extra here titled “Alien Costume Test” but also there’s a commentary with Cunningham and executive producer Chuck Simon that’s worth a listen. It’s not new, recorded at a time when Campbell was doing the series “Burn Notice” (2007-2013) but it’s worth a listen.

Terminal Invasion (2002) | Oddur B.T. | Review - The Global Tofay Global Today



Why physical copy?

I always encourage the acquisition of physical copies as I dread the day when films will only exist as files on computers and through streaming services. The companies that put the effort into making the discs, create new artwork or reproduce the originals, issue booklets and much more deserve all the financial support they can. Therefore I will always mention the Blu-rays or DVD’s (and yes; also if I review something streamed through Netflix or the like) even though I gain nothing from it personally.

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