I love it when I stumble across a movie, thoroughly prepared to hate it based on reputation alone, only to discover it's actually damned good. That was the case this past weekend, when I sifted through my "to watch" pile and saw Decoys. I remember it being a Sci-Fi Channel movie and, to be honest, I avoid that channel like the plague of CGI-ridden rubbish it is. So it's 4 pm on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I feel like a nap, and determine a bad flick is the surest way to put me out this side of golf.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself thoroughly entertained by this hilarious, sexy, and fun flick?
First off, put all thoughts of the Sci-Fi channel out of your heads, because Decoys is a Canadian film that was actually meant for theatrical release, and has the nekkid ladies, disturbing imagery, and foul language to prove it. While it's not exactly Girls Gone Wild, the film shows off a fair amount of skin, and features one of the hottest casts of gals this side of your average WB teen/angst fest. Decoys also features some great performances and damned fine production values that make me wonder why this flick was relegated to cable at all.
Luke (Sevier) and Roger (the excellent Toufexis, more on him later) are your prototypical college freshmen; dumb, drunk, and horny. The duo meet a pair of ludicrously hot young ladies in the guise of Constance and Lily(Poirier and von Pfetten). The girls take a liking to Luke and Roger, but Luke witnesses something that leads him to believe these girls are aliens bent on global domination, "one dick at a time". When the captain of the college hockey team turns up frozen from the inside out, Luke seeks the aid of his mature former lover, police officer Amanda Watts (Eggert), as well as his cute pal Alex (Ory). However, in his attempts to expose the alien menace, Luke runs afoul of Watt's partner, Kirk (Bergi), a freakishly inept and mean spirited cop who thinks Luke is behind all of this. Meanwhile, Roger, whose virginity is something he both cherishes and despises, ponders whether or not to sleep with the more than willing Constance, unaware that his first time could very well be his last.
Decoys is an enormously entertaining teen sex romp/horror sci-fi comedy that's equal parts The Hidden, The Faculty, and American Pie. The story is your typical "aliens among us" thing that's been done since the 1950's, but it's in it's execution where Decoy's charms lie. The film is very well written, with hilarious (and authentic) dialogue, extremely likeable characters, and a bunch of twists that keeps the film rolling along quite nicely. I was also very impressed by the young actors, especially Toufexis, who is something of a cross between Elijah Wood and Eminem, and is absolutely hilarious in his delivery. Sevier, Poirier, and von Pfetten are also quite good, with von Pfetten in particular being the cinematic equivolent of looking into the sun. This girl is HOT.
First time director, Hastings (who also scripted the film), does a great job with a limited budget, making Decoys look and feel every bit the equal of his film's Hollywood brethren. He should also be commended for writing dialogue for young adults that isn't simply a mish mash of catch phrases and ebonics. These characters live and breath and come off as genuine human beings (or aliens).
The film's only major misstep occurs during the third act, where a wholly unnecessary scene involving Constance and Roger (as well as an extended "sad" scene which feels totally out of place although it is really well done) gives this otherwise raw and lampoonish romp something of a brief identity crisis. I also found Eggert's character was simply excess baggage. Were the relationship between her and Luke (and Kirk, for that matter) more fleshed out, I may have bought it, but, as presented, it seems like stunt casting that misfires badly.
Columbia/Tristar present Decoys on DVD in a nice widescreen transfer that features a making of featurette and previews for other Columbia/Tristar releases. Personally, I'm going to seek out the Canadian release as it features deleted scenes, bloopers, and a commentary track as well, but I'm also hoping Decoys does well enough here to merit a special edition somewhere down the line.
I really can't get over how much I enjoyed this film, but I fear my enthusiasm for it may stem from the fact that I expected to hate Decoys, and, instead, wound up loving almost every second of it. However, I've also read some really bad reviews of this movie and I chalk that up to people expecting something Decoys is not; a pure horror film. Decoys is, however, a wickedly funny, extremely sexy, and light as air homage to paranoid 50's sci-fi schlock with a healthy dose of hormonally imbalanced comedy thrown in for good measure.