Welcome to Cult Corner where we dive through the bargain bins to determine if a movie is trash or treasure. Today’s pick… Paul Matthews’ Breeders.
Breeders begins with some of the worst opening titles I’ve seen. We are witness to a CGI meteor in CGI space and the whole thing sort of looks like an early cutscene from one of the old mid-80s Sierra computer games. Considering this picture came out in 1997 that’s pretty awful. On top of that, there’s a completely different title shown than what’s listed everywhere else. Apparently nobody got the memo that this is actually called Deadly Insticts.
After the debacle with the opening credits, we see the CGI meteor crash into a college where a girl clad in what I assume is space attire crawls out of the wreckage followed by a pleasantly surprising practical monster. I don’t know if it’s just because of the terrible visual effects but which it was preceded, but this creature looks really good. The effects team on this project obviously worshiped at the altar of Stan Winston because there’s a very clear inspiration from the likes of Alien and Pumpkinhead. The monster is the highlight of the film and he should be, but it’d be nice if we saw him more frequently.
From here, we’re introduced to a professor at the college who is sleeping with one of his students (and doesn’t quite understand the importance of keeping that relationship a secret, despite having his job threatened) as well as a handful of other forgettable characters. The professor Ashley (Evil Dead nod is obvious) is our protagonist and the one who gets most of the screen time, but he disappears for a good chunk of the middle as police officers and other characters are brought in just to increase the body count. This is a huge mistake as things become overly complicated and lose focus quickly.
For what it’s worth the acting isn’t that bad. Though the performers have little to work with. None of the characters are developed or have much personality and the dialogue is atrocious. It’s not even funny bad, it’s just bad.
The monster only pops up once in a while, though his presence does become more frequent in the second half when things start to get completely off the wall. There are a series of pointless subplots, one which involves mind-controlled girls from the college and another having to do with crystals and eggs and cocoons. Once again, the screenplay is just overly complicated. In fact, the alien girl has no place in this movie. She does very little for the first half and only serves to give some brief motivation later on as well as spout off exposition.
On a visual level the movie could be worse. Save for the terrible visual effects at the start and the awesome practical rubber suit monster, most of the FX work is middle of the road.
This movie is kind of ambitious. You can tell that Matthews is really trying here. He doesn’t want to just make an Alien knockoff, but he doesn’t have the chops to make this work. With a monster that we see too infrequently, too many characters that show up and leave the story at random, and an overly complicated plot about mind controlled girls we have a film that offers the viewer absolutely nothing to latch onto, which gives us no reason to care.
In addition to its other flaws, Breeders suffers from a bad script. It should have just been an Alien knockoff. Cut out the side characters and the crazy nonsense. Trim the fat and give it a much more straight forward screenplay. This would have made for something much more watchable, but instead we have a movie that fails more than it succeeds. I found this title to be a chore to sit through and it’s certainly the most boring movie I’ve watched in a long time.
Oh… and they set it up for a sequel. Good.
Here at Cult Corner we cover the weird and obscure. Given the low budget that these movies often have we feel the need to recognize that entertainment value and quality aren’t always synonymous. That’s why we have opted for the “trash or treasure” approach in lieu of a typical rating system. After all, Troll 2 is incredibly entertaining but it’s no 8 out of 10.