The main reason any one remembers this one is that John McNaughton, who directed Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, chose to make this often comic horror film next.
Henry is often hailed as a great masterpiece. It is also seen as an exploitative piece of trash.
The Borrower really isn’t that memorable an entry into the “alien on the run from the law” cliche of the Nineties. In this case, a “devolved” alien prisoner is stuck on Earth, with a human-looking body that has a few bugs in it: if anything goes wrong, his head tends to explode. And then he has to rip the head off yet another victim and plop it on top of his neck.
(Did I mention there are plenty of gore effects?)
McNaughton does manage to give us a few interesting scenes of the alien (with Tom Towles head) wandering dazed through the worst parts of Chicago, with his head bobbling as if it were balanced on top of his shoulders (these look suspiciously like he shot them guerrilla style and caught the reactions of real passersby). The film is rarely out and out funny, but it does have some nicely comic moments – although the alien’s choice of a non-human head in one scene is utterly absurd.
It’s worth noting that the insect-like alien in the (rather nicely shot) opening scene looks far better than one would expect from a film with a budget this low. But then, you don’t see much of it.
Unfortunately, McNaughton ran out of money on this film, which probably explains the rather abrupt ending. However, I’m not sure that that explains the straightforward plot with only a few minor subplots – and the lack of some overarching main storyline to tie all its rambling elements together.
Still, it’s a halfway decent midnight movie, as long as you don’t ask too much of it.