Tony misses his dad. He left him 3 years ago during a trip out to their cottage in the country side – or at least that’s what Tony’s mom wants him to think. Tony knows the truth though, that a bright light came and separated him from his dad and took him away. Now, three years later, his dad Sam is back in his life out nowhere, and his mom Rachel and her boyfriend Joe have some questions. Namely, where has he been all this time and why did he leave in the first place?
It seems dear old dad Sam just isn’t the same as when he left. He can’t seem to remember what happened on the day that he disappeared, besides he was enveloped in a bright white light that he couldn’t get away from, and then he was gone. Thankfully, through the power of film, we get to see that he arrived the same way he left – by a space ship made of pure white light. This time though, when he lands, he’s some horribly disfigured alien that needs to feed of human flesh, and actually needs to incubate inside a human host for a little while before he’s back to the form that everyone knows him as.
It seems that while he’s telling Rachel that he doesn’t remember anything from the last three years, he lets his son Tony know that he’s been living on another world and he’s come back for Tony and his mother. While he’s been out, he seems to have picked up the powers of telekinesis along the way, which he plans to pass along to his son. Now that he’s brought his son into the fold, he only needs to win his ex-wife away from her new boyfriend to complete his plan. That’ll be easier said than done though, because her boyfriend Joe knows something just isn’t right with Sam, and wants him away from his family before things get out of hand.
While being low budget, Xtro is full of very convincing and gory special effects. Some of the effects include the aforementioned alien insemination, a woman getting turned into some kind of crazy alien baby incubator wrapped up into a cocoon, and a toy soldier come to life to terrorize an old downstairs neighbor that’s giving Tony and his family a hard time. The soldier was especially creepy yet oddly funny as it cuts the old woman’s door chain and broke it’s way into her home. It doesn’t take him long to turn the old lady into swiss cheese after stabbing her with his bayonet a few times.
I’ve mentioned it before, that a lot of the inspiration to review these movies came from the days of my youth when I used to wander the aisles at the video store, and Xtro was one of the old VHS box covers I remember very vividly. I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this movie for a long time and I wasn’t disappointed. The pacing is a tiny bit slower than I would have liked, and there really isn’t much to the plot that you couldn’t grasp in the first 20 minutes. Thankfully, the very impressive special effects (especially for 1983!) more than make up for any shortcomings in those areas. This is one of the few cases where I went into watching a movie with high expectations and my expectations were truly met. I have to admit, I was actually a little frightened a few times and it wasn’t just because of the gore, but because the movie has this surreal and creepy vibe to it. I never quite knew what to expect, and that both surprised and excited me.
While not a hard Sci-fi movie, Xtro is definitely on the Sci-fi edge of horror. A victim of alien abduction comes back to Earth to reclaim his son and take him back to his new home… how much more Sci-fi can you get without actually getting on board a spaceship and flying around stars? Even if you’re not a regular Sci-fi fan, Xtro has everything a horror or gore hound could want without being too over the top. Take a look for yourself in the gallery below. Xtro takes 4 mutant alien eggs out of 5.