It’s amazing how far franchises can fall. Horror film sequels are known for their diminishing returns, everything from Friday the 13th to A Nightmare on Elm Street have seen each sequel get worse and worse, but the record for the furthest fall has to be the Alien franchise. After Ridley Scott’s masterpiece in creeping horror to James Cameron’s all out actioner, their sequels have been a shadow of their former glory. Alien3 was a mess, Alien: Resurrection was interesting but flawed and Paul W. S. Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator was sub-standard, throwaway nonsense. So imagine the reaction from audiences when Alien vs. Predator: Requiem was released in 2008.
A direct sequel to Paul W. S. Anderson’s 2004 slasher film, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem starts with an Alien bursting through the chest of a fallen Predator. Only this Alien has some characteristics of a Predator, like the mandibles. A Predalien if you will. This creature matures quickly and begins making mincemeat out of the crew, causing a hull breach and sending the ship crashing to Earth. The Alien and some facehuggers begin spawning new Aliens, but a distress signal to the Predator home world is picked up by a lone Predator who travels to Earth to stop the incursion before it can spread.
The setup is actually quite neat and the design of the Predalien is neat and rather exciting for fans of the franchise to see. There is also a rather exhilarating fight scene in the sewers between the Predator and some Aliens. This is where the praise ends, because Alien vs. Predator: Requiem is one of the most miscast, badly paced, terribly acted and thoroughly messy productions of all time. Overwhelmed by the lineage of its predecessors it is so bad that it makes Paul W.S. Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator look like Ridley Scott’s Alien.
The characters are beyond cliche, the action is trite and thoroughly disappointing (with the exception of the sewer scene) and the design is horrible and cheap. Even AVP looked quite slick. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem reduces this once great saga to the realms of staggeringly poor, straight-to-DVD nonsense. At the box office it managed to take a whopping $128m from a budget of $40m but the after effects were devastating. It signaled the absolute lowest a franchise can sink in search of profit. It’s fortunate that the events of this and its immediate predeccesor were removed from Alien franchise canon and that Ridley Scott announced his prequel Prometheus otherwise we might never have seen H.R. Giger’s creations ever again.