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(2006, Sánchez)

"Look at us. We're all fu˘ked up now."

Altered follows a group of friends that manage to capture an alien creature in an attempt to get payback after being abducted and tested on themselves 15 years ago. However, their quest for revenge only serves to bring forth their own personal issues, guilt, regrets, and traumas, which has led to them being distanced and "all fu˘ked up now".

The film starts with Cody, Duke, and Otis (Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Brad William Henke, and Michael C. Williams) capturing the alien. They then bring it to the house of a fourth friend, Wyatt (Adam Kaufman), who had distanced himself from the group after the abduction. It is there where their internal conflicts bubble up, endangering them all.

This film was directed by Eduardo Sánchez, one of the creators and directors of The Blair Witch Project. I assume it shouldn't have been easy to follow up such a successful project, so I appreciate him sticking to a small-scale, independent project like this. He uses a very economical approach focusing more on the interactions between the friends than the alien itself.

What little special effects we get are decent, and Sánchez direction is pretty solid. But the script by Jamie Nash keeps the spotlight on the relationship between these four men, and how much they've lost as a result of this trauma. Unfortunately, Kaufman lacks a strong emotional presence and depth, which has a significant impact in the film considering he's more or less the audience's proxy, and supposed to be the emotional core.

The film is certainly not without other flaws, mostly some spotty dialogue and another shaky performance from Wyatt's girlfriend, but I really liked the film's approach to this abduction as more of an individually traumatic and personally scarring event that has affected this men's life forever; something that gave me vibes of cases of child or teen abuse. Yeah, they're "all fu˘ked up now" for sure.