The sense of unease is palpable, and the situation is far from predictable. How’s that double whammy? Well, if I were dealing with an alien that had a bone to pick, I wouldn’t give it an inch, nor would I let it anywhere near those I care about. Then again, that may be easier said than done, what with aggression and horrifying abilities up the wazoo. I sure would hate to be on the receiving end of mind control, as that would likely lead to hemorrhaging and self-inflicted wounds. And who knows? I may even find myself altered in ways that I never saw coming. As unfortunate as that would be, it wouldn’t change my opinion of Altered. It’s a film that I consider tense as well as engaging, a film that has an allure to it in that it deals with a group of men who had a prior encounter with extraterrestrials only to capture one fifteen years later. It’s as though they are reliving the past, but on their terms.

As I look back on the film, I can’t deny the emphasis on alteration. Not only is it expressed in a physical sense, but also in the sense that Wyatt and his friends experience changes as a result of the alien wreaking havoc. In this regard, there are scenes that stand out, namely the bedroom scene. It is as intense as it is harrowing. It is demonstrative of what the alien is capable of as well as its savage nature; thus, the pain Duke experiences as his intestines are jeopardized is nothing short of palpable. It’s a gruesome state of affairs, and an anxiety-inducing one at that.

I like that the alien is held captive before the big reveal. It gives the characters time to assess the situation and shed light on their previous experience with extraterrestrials. It’s expository, but the film is never bogged down by it; if anything, it is all the better for it. Wyatt and his friends have had an experience that they couldn’t forget even if they tried to, and I think that’s worth mentioning because the loss of their friend has left them scarred and because they are aware of the danger that aliens pose. There’s no doubt that they’ve been altered. On top of that, their history is alluded to without coming off as tacked on.

Altered is an example of compelling sci-fi horror. It feels isolated due to its setting, and it has a viciousness about it that never lets up. That’s a winning combination in my book, so give this one a whirl if you haven’t. I’m sure you’ll find it to your liking, unless, of course, you happen to capture an alien.