Picture it! The year was 2004. It was the era of Austin Powers and American Pie. Nokia had perfected the indestructible cell phone and fuel prices were still reasonable. It was the year of Decoys. This movie had the set up to be a whole lot of things and even incorporated a lot of subgenres together in what feels like an unintentional horror comedy about rapey space aliens invading a Canadian college town to save their own species from extinction. Yeah, a lot to unpack there. The girls met the standard of beauty for the time, the language was absolutely ridiculous (fo’ shizzle) and there were lots of cringey and underdeveloped plot points. But, it’s still a hell of a creature feature.

Luke and Roger are a couple of college kids looking to get laid. I mean, let’s face it, any movie centering on college students before 2015 is either going to be about the never-ending quest to satiate your raging hormones or about a football team learning through drug abuse and loss that we’re all the same inside. When Luke stumbles across two incredibly hot girls who seem to want every guy they meet, he initially thinks he’s about to have a great semester until tentacles erupt out of their naked bodies to help them air dry in the frozen Canadian winter. What follows is a series of harebrained schemes to try and prove to everyone that a sinister alien plot is afoot. Meanwhile, the sorority sisters from beyond the stars are date raping every guy they find to repopulate their species, leaving behind a trail of frozen corpses with awkward O faces. In the end, we discover that the alien breeders were only targeting guys who themselves were about to commit sexual assault and that these aliens are in fact capable of love and meaningful relationships in an attempt to save their race.

Thank god Luke brought his flamethrower and book of terrible puns to the diplomacy table.

The aliens in Decoys come in three flavors: blonde, octopus, and chupacabra. Since we’re all well aware of what blonde sorority girls have looked like since forever, we can skip the human forms and dive straight into the alien stuff. The CGI squid version is pretty basic –much like the human version– with animation that was great in the lower definition days before flat screens and HD were a thing. Feeling reminiscent of films like The Faculty and Night of the Creeps, these squids erupt from a “navel” strategically placed between the breasts giving the director an excuse for gratuitous cleavage in every shot he could find. The tendrils themselves are fast and wiggly with a center stalk that has a mouth that dives into the victim’s throat to impregnate. This leads into the second stage of the transformation, the big reveal of the alien underneath.

A flesh bubble erupts around the human face of the alien and then evaporates something that looks like a Rule 34 version of the chupacabra. Thin, patchy wisps of blonde hair form a ring around a monstrous head and the entire body is wrapped in a chitinous, slimy looking form that seems vaguely feminine. Except for the bony tail and claws. Honestly, it looks a bit like a C.H.U.D. in the face but, for the most part, the art department really stuck with the whole chupacabra sketch artist rendering. There’s no suspending disbelief that you’re looking at a woman in a rubber suit but it’s still entertaining as hell and the fact that they spent time and budget on a practical, full body costume like this is amazing. The lighting whenever you see the aliens is dimmed but never so dark as to take away from the detail of the work that went into the design and the final battle between the main character and the last monster standing is full of bright greens and reds.

The dialogue is awful in a lot of places, especially at the end as the lead character and a minor side character who barely had screen time or lines go on their extraterrestrial killing spree. “Baby’s got back-up” isn’t even the crown jewel of awful words and phrases and nothing can top “Belt of Orion, huh? How about belt of o’fryin’?!” Add to this the late 90s/early 00s slang and you almost have to mute the movie to watch it. It’s honestly the writing that makes this otherwise fun, albeit dated monster movie almost unwatchable. The plot itself is solid enough for what it is even with the predictable twist at the end. But the dialogue, man. I remember people talking like this at one point in time. I remember me talking like this at one point in time. Even so I still had to stop and try to remember what some of these words and phrases meant as I watched this movie. The more the characters talk, the further this film strays from being a legit sci-fi/horror into the realm of horror comedy.

Decoys is one of those movies that starts out with a potential set up to be a lot of things. It could have been another college coming of age let’s get laid flick. It could have been a delusional killer on the loose on frat row. It could have been a sorority cult killing men in some ancient fertility ritual. It turned out to be an alien invasion that wasn’t even an intentional invasion so much as an attempt to save one species from extinction at the cost of, let’s face it, some terrible members of our own species. With the way the movie ends, you almost have to wonder if the horny chupacabras from beyond the stars were the actual villains. Decoys is free to stream with Amazon Prime and it’s definitely worth a watch.

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