Darkus Marque, “Alien Infinity” (2015)
Made during his spare time between January and August 2015, “Alien Infinity” from graphic designer (and aspiring film-maker at the time) Darkus Marque is a work of much love and labour. For a film made completely on computer by one person, “Alien Infinity” features stunning visual detail in its backgrounds and in the look of the technology that might be possible in the future society depicted. The characters featured do not get much individual time so they appear either flat or stereotypical but from what we do see of them, Marque has tried to give each of them as much individuality as possible in the short time they have in this film.
The work appears more as an introduction to a much longer film than as a complete film in its own right. A small group of marines is sent out to investigate after the capital of the colony Beta Terran, established on a far distant planet, suddenly loses communications contact with Earth. While travelling out to Beta Terran, the marines joke among themselves and generally take the piss out of one another. Landing in the capital, they see it is strangely quiet. They are then taking an elevator ride down into the city’s underground layers when the lights cut out … and fifteen minutes later, we discover they are all running for their lives, all of them cut off from one another, from the menace lurking below the planet’s surface.
The editing can be jumpy and sometimes viewers can have difficulty working out which marine is being chased in what part of the underground city by what and how many Xenomorphs. We do not know what happens in the fifteen minutes when All Hell Breaks Loose and all the marines are separated. I should think in dangerous missions the marines would have tried to stay in groups (they would have trained and been drilled on staying together) rather than end up on their own and become easy pickings for the Xenomorphs. The monsters themselves are portrayed well: lurking in the shadows, the fact that few of them are shown in all their sinister entirety makes them more terrifying than they otherwise would be. The marines discover what it is like to be the prey rather than the predator though the fate for some of them can be predicted well in advance by fans of the ALIEN franchise. Some of the marines’ voices are either too quiet or don’t appear to suit the character, and Marque would be well advised to try to find the best voice actors he can afford who can identify with the characters they are assigned to.
The film has a very gritty, noirish look that fits the city in which it is set. The marines appear totally lost in this labyrinthine place and are at a disadvantage compared to the Xenomorphs who know every cranny in this city where they dominate. At the end of the film a couple of marines – one of them appears to be an android androgyne with a very droll sense of humour – enter a control room and discover that experiments had been carried out on Xenomorphs at various stages of their development.
I’d have liked the film to have had a clearer, rather less open-ended conclusion, and to be able to stand on its own two legs within the trilogy it starts. As it is, viewers need to wait for or look for the second film “Alien Continuum” to find out what else happens with the marines, and how many of them survive.
Darkus Marque clearly has a strong visual concept and a talent for making visually stunning films in the science fiction genre. His shortcomings can be overcome with more experience in making short SF films and with help and advice from scriptwriters.