Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem
For many, the Aliens vs. Predator franchise is nothing more than a gimmick. A campy monster match-up in the spirit of Dracula vs. Frankenstein or Godzilla vs. Mothra, if not a desperate attempt by 20th Century Fox to revitalize its two sci-fi/horror blockbusters. Actually, the idea was born out of comics, novels, and videogames over the last 20 years, developing numerous stories from which to draw upon. The histories seemed naturally intertwined: the ultimate hunters (Predators) cultivating the ultimate prey (Aliens) for safari, with humankind caught between the two deadly species.
The concept played well in print, but less successfully on the big screen. Though a minor box office success, 2004's Alien vs. Predator was deemed a failure by most critics and moviegoers, lacking in comparison to its classic predecessors. Some felt cheated by the PG-13 rating, which stripped the film of the gory bloodshed exhibited in the other movies. And others complained that if you're going to bring these creatures to Earth, then unleash them someplace that matters; a populated setting would be scarier than Antarctica.
For better or worse, 20th Century Fox listened, assigning The Brothers Strause (special effects wizards Greg and Colin) to direct their first feature film. As lifelong fans of both franchises, the Strauses were eager to recreate the audio and visual hallmarks of both creatures. They also amped the violence and gore back up to an R rating. And they have attempted the Earthbound story that many fans have long wanted.
The setting is present day, after the events of the previous Predator films and picking up immediately from the conclusion of the first AVP—all before the Alien series. While leaving Earth's orbit, last movie's fallen Predator gives "birth" to a Predator Alien hybrid, or "PredAlien" (Aliens take on genetic characteristics of their hosts). Fast forward to this movie—chaos ensues, the remaining Predators are killed, and the ship crash lands back to Earth, this time in the small Colorado town of Gunnison. The Aliens run rampant, immediately infesting the community with the new PredAlien's ability to incubate hosts directly.
As if the citizens of Gunnison didn't have enough to worry about, the spaceship's distress beacon draws a lone Predator (only one?!?!) to Earth—not as a hunter, but as a "cleaner" to erase any trace of either creature's existence from the planet. That would be a good thing, except it means killing any humans that get in the way (and in some cases, leaving their remains behind, which seems to conflict with his mission). Also, when the government catches wind of the situation, they're not exactly planning to save the town either. Caught in the middle of a full-on alien infestation, the citizens of Gunnison fight for their lives as doomsday approaches.
In most sci-fi films, characters are victims of their profession—scientists tampering with the unknown, soldiers entering strange environments, space jockeys landing on planets they shouldn't be, etc. But in horror films, the victims are more often everyday people—naughty or nice, they could be your next-door neighbors, store clerks, classmates, and local law enforcement. And there's also a distinction between thrillers and horror films. The former relies on suspense and atmosphere to elicit tension and scares. The latter focuses on "quality kills" and shock value.