Why indie alien flick Skyline is ready to take on the blockbusters

Have you heard of a new movie called Skyline yet? Probably not. We knew very little about it ourselves until just recently, but after seeing some footage from the film for the first time at Comic-Con on Friday, we're suddenly very interested in this flick.

Here's the lowdown: Skyline is an independently made movie by producers/directors the Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg), who also directed 2007's Alien vs. Predator 2: Requiem. We know, not a great calling card, but this time around the brothers, who also own their own cameras, production gear and special effects equipment, went to work without a studio looking over their shoulder. Not only did owning all their own stuff keep costs down, but they also shot most of the movie at the Marina del Rey apartment complex where one of them lives. Now that's what you call being budget-conscious.

So what's this thing about? A bunch of young friends are vacationing in Los Angeles at the Marina when strange white lights begin falling from the sky. Something nasty happens to anyone who looks into those lights, by which we mean their face starts turning all red and crispy. After the lights come giant, spider-like spaceships. And out of those come giant, spider-like alien monsters!

And boy, those suckers are big. The footage shown at the movie's Comic-Con panel features a number of shots of aliens stomping on cars, smashing through walls and towering over people. They also look like they have about a thousand eyes. Pretty creepy stuff.

What's most impressive is that the Strauses made this on a relatively small budget but that the picture looks huge. There are vast scenes of alien ships swooping over Los Angeles and, in one amazing shot, sucking up literally thousands of human beings like a gigantic vacuum cleaner from hell. That shot and many of the other large-scale sequences went over very well with the crowd, which seemed a little sleepy until the footage hits the screen.

Greg Strause says on the panel (which also features stars Eric Balfour, Donald Faison and Scottie Thompson) that working independently "allows us to take risk and embrace risky ideas. Risky ideas are the cool ideas, and they're the ones that fans embrace the most." That gets a big round of applause from the hall (Strause knows who his audience is).

We're sold after seeing the footage, especially since alien invasions and apocalyptic scenarios are two of our favorite types of stories. The only concern? The movie looks in many ways like Battle: Los Angeles, which is also about an alien invasion and is also set in L.A. (what's with all the hate for L.A. at this con?), although it's got a big studio behind it and a much larger budget.

So what's the difference between the two? Here's Colin Strause on his movie: "It's about mass abduction, it's not about being shot with lasers or anything. They use our instinctual weakness about looking at things against us and can wipe us out with that."

Skyline is out November 12th, 2010.

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