An alien crash lands in a junkyard. A lot of people try to kill it. Most of them die.
There’s more to it than that, but that does mostly sum it up.
There’s a pitch black sense of humor at work here, with the sympathetic characters and heartwarming story arcs getting killed off first, with the ingenuity of some of the alien’s deadly traps (one of which seems to exist solely so someone can laugh at the warning sign the handyman put up before getting eaten), the startling willingness of the alien hunters to kill each other, and the absurd lengths some of the characters go to for the sake of the promised $100,000 reward. We get Rowdy Roddy Piper as a Priest who is surprisingly adept at hand-to-hand combat; an alien who just wants to get his ship fixed (and is perhaps a bit peeved that he has to keep killing everyone); a waitress who is secretly happy that her best friend just got killed because she was tired of everyone wondering why she couldn’t be more like her; an unlovable and murderous mother and her oversexed daughter who start the ructions – and whom we’re not particularly sad to see eliminated; and some very effective shots of the alien’s suit suddenly venting steam, or his big dark eyes swimming into view behind his eyepieces.
It has its moments, but on the whole it lacks something. Perhaps it needed someone sympathetic to root for, perhaps Roddy should have stayed around longer because his character is by far the most interesting, perhaps if the sillier bits had been left out (the Karate Dojo, the Football and Baseball teams…etc.,etc.), perhaps the alien needed a bit more personality. I don’t know.
What they did on an absolutely minimal budget is impressive.
I just wish I liked it more.