Canaries aka Alien Party Crashers – UK, 2017

‘In Wales, no one can hear you scream’

Canaries – aka Alien Party Crashers – is a 2017 British science fiction comedy horror film written and directed by Peter Stray, making his feature debut. The Maple Dragon production stars Robert Pugh, Kai Owen, Richard Mylan and Hannah Danie.

Plot:

Lower Cwmtwrch, Wales: A group of friends at a New Year’s Eve bash hosted by Steve Denis (Craig Russell), London’s 53rd-most-listened-to DJ, are pitted against an invasion task force of creepy time travelling aliens…

Reviews:

Canaries is an intriguing alien invasion story that makes good use of its budget. It has some good, solid performances with entertaining scenes and lines. It is easy to get to grips with, even with some of the more twisty points. The soundtrack is not too bad either, with some moody moments from Marenghast.” Dave Heath, Cryptic Rock

“By all rights, a film with a plot as crazy as this, from a first time feature director with a very low budget, should be an absolute disaster. Instead, Stray bucks expectations and delivers something that remains compelling even when it’s befuddling, and is rarely less than fun.” Gareth Jones, Dread Central

” …as act two rolls around and the ridiculousness of the situation increases, the dialogue really seems to pick up, and the comedy really shines through […] What’s more, with the arrival of the Canaries comes a heightened sense of pace, and the blandness of the characters gets overshadowed by plot, action, and even some gnarly, low-budget gore.” James Taylor, Flickering Myth

“Most of the acting is good, the cast have chemistry and a lot of the dialogue is delivered with conviction. It’s pretty clear those involved are enjoying themselves and that shines through. The sci-fi elements don’t work quite as well though. For some reason, the movie stuffs far too much in.” Carl Fisher, Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

“What works perfectly for this is the effort that the actors have put in to transmit irony and sarcasm in the face of death by the hands of the aliens. The fun, and sometimes weird, part is that the characters demonstrate shock by their current situation, but they maintain their profiles as if the experience couldn’t change them for life.” Brandon Henry, Horror Buzz

“Time travelling aliens fight drunken Welshmen on New Year’s Eve in a movie that’s reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s early pictures. Very low budget, and the monsters are essentially blokes in yellow macs with long fingernails, but this had heart and soul…” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema

” …it does start being oddly effective as a creepy horror movie – the alien possessed (abducted and brainwashed Norwegian fishermen) are an unsettling, simple menace, all the more so when the desperate battlers start recognising strangely familiar faces in the mix.” The Kim Newman Web Site

Canaries is an impressive debut feature from the films writer and director Peter Stray and although it may not be perfect, the natural blend of horror, sci fi and comedy is brilliantly entertaining.” Philip Rogers, Nerdly

“This is an incredible effort, for a low-budgeted film made by a first time director.  It makes the most of its tiny budget, is deftly constructed, offers a dense and complex world, nicely staged action and quite a few good moments.  I’ll admit it left me feeling just a bit let down, because it wasn’t as good as the films it has been compared to.” Mark Cole, Rivets on the Poster

Canaries belies its budget time and again, proving that ingenuity and imagination can produce something more involving and entertaining than many a big studio blockbuster. This was made with a real love of its various genres, inhabiting the same space as the very best of The X-Files with its mix of chills, chuckles and detailed mythology…” Darren Gaskell, The Strange Colour of Deej’s

“The cast are clearly having a grand ol’ time together, and those performances lead to a genuine sense of emotional investment, something I think can be sorely lacking from horror comedies. It’s testament to the script too that a central character as, well, slightly tool-ish as Steve manages to become likeable…” Ben Busey, Warped Perspective

“Belying his miniscule budget, Stray mixes laughs and scares to good effect. And he gives his film an international dimension with brief scenes set in Vietnam, Martha’s Vineyard and Washington DC, where Men in Black types are keeping tabs on the alien invasion – and giving a new perspective on the much vaunted ‘special relationship.” Jason Best, What’s On TV

Cast and characters:

  • Robert Pugh … Jenkins
  • Hannah Daniel … Agnes D
  • Craig Russell … Steve Dennis
  • Sheena Bhattessa … Sunita
  • Robert Boulter … Randall
  • Kai Owen … McDonald
  • Richard Mylan … Nav
  • Steve Meo … Huw
  • Aled Pugh … Ryan
  • Marc Rhys … Tommy
  • Sophie Melville … Sian
  • Kevin McCurdy … Fisherman
  • Dominique Dauwe … Kurt Nesbo
  • Tsilala Brock … Marcie Gilman
  • Scott Barrow … Stanley
  • Richard Corgan … Wilson
  • Rob Karma Robinson … Miles Kendrick
  • Oliver Morgan-Thomas … Fisherman
  • Laura Silber … Medical Examiner
  • Ceri Jones … Selwyn Rees
  • Steve Dunayer … Officer Colman
  • Chelsea McCarthy … Technician
  • Le Hong Lien … Vietnamese Woman

Release:

Canaries had its world premiere at the Horror Channel FrightFest in London on 26 August 2017.

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