Alien Autopsy

Alien Autopsy


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Ant and Dec are the televisual equivalent of a double dose of Marmite. You either love them or you hate them and this latest venture into celluloid is unlikely to sway you either way. Personally, I think the cheeky chappies from the north-east are pretty good at telly madness and, despite the evidence of Byker Grove and their less-than-glowing venture into Likely Lads remakes, they can act a bit, too.

In their debut film outing they tackle the subject of the alien autopsy. Back in the dim and distant Blur-filled days of 1995, some guys from London, Ray Santilli (Dec) and Gary Shoefield (Ant) filmed the hoax of the decade - an alleged autopsy of an alien discovered in Area 51 - and this is, no doubt with suitable artistic licence, their story.

Copy picture

Set up as a retelling of the tale to a documentary director, we learn that Gary (with Ant clearly channelling the spirit of Del Trotter) is a bit of a wideboy, always on the lookout for the next get-rich-quick scheme, who improbably has a best mate who is a nondescript lawyer's clerk. On a trip to the States Gary sees a film of an alien autopsy shot by a soldier at Roswell and cuts a deal with a gangland Hungarian to get the cash together to buy it. When the film degrades unexpectedly, they face a stark choice - fake it or face the homicidal Hungarian. So an elaborate hoax was born - one which went on to fool a large proportion of the western (and some of the eastern) world.

This movie scores well on the quirky British movie scale. It has the ingredients of eccentricity which we all love, and Ant and Dec shed their familiar canny lad act sufficiently to be believable in the roles. Some of the camerawork is fun - particularly the way in which director Jonny Campbell uses the reaction shots of those watching the various pieces of film rather than the film itself - but he never really breaks away from his small-screen background (Spooks, Phoenix Nights).

There is humour to be had, for example, in the scene in which they shoot the fake autopsy, only to see the 'brain' skitter across the floor and ruin Gary's sister's carpet, but for the most part it is the wry smile sort, not laugh-out-loud guffawing. There's a competent cast featuring some comedic faves, such as Omid Djalili, Jimmy Carr and Morwenna Banks. The pace is good for the most part and the story an interesting one and yet... and yet it still can't really justify being a movie instead of a feature-length TV comedy drama.

Reviewed on: 07 Apr 2006
Share this with others on...
Alien Autopsy packshot
Fictionalised retelling of the alien autopsy hoax film.
Amazon link

Director: Jonny Campbell

Writer: William Davies

Starring: Declan Donnelly, Ant McPartlin, Bill Pullman, Harry Dean Stanton, Omid Djalili, Jimmy Carr, Morwenna Banks

Year: 2006

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK


Search database: