Metal Shifters (2011) – Review

1 Star

Originally titled Iron Invader, but more appropriately renamed Metal Shifters this flick opens with brothers Jake and Ethan doing some light construction when they spot a falling meteor crashing to Earth. After investigating the meteor turns out to be a pile of metal junk with some green paint (or alien bacteria as the movie suggests) smeared on it. They decide to sell it to the old man in the junkyard, who happens to be welding together a large robot statue that he explains is a golem (what great foreshadowing). Soon the blood thirsty green paint alien bacteria is possessing the statue and chasing down every victim in sight. Who will survive to stop this behemoth?

This movie is bottom of the barrel by any standards. Some of the special effects are decent for this budget range, but the acting and writing are atrocious. It reminds me a lot of a brainless version of the pretentious Rubber. While I understand that this movie was going for a simple fun low-budget romp, it’s just too stupid to fully enjoy. I believe I’ve gone down a few IQ points from this viewing (you could argue before as I did put this in the DVD player even after reading the synopsis).

To be fair it’s not the director, Paul Ziller, I have issues with, it’s the writer, Paul Ziller, that sinks this one. To put it succinctly this bacteria posses a STATUE as if it were a ROBOT. Nobody seemed to tell the sound effects guy either as he put in a layer of robot sounds as the statue moved around. It’s just a bunch of junk welded together, it doesn’t have working hydraulic legs, but it sounds like it does. It can also see (through non-functioning robot eyes on a statue) and hear, by what mechanism I have no clue.

The alien bacteria is blood thirsty, hence the horror part of this sci-fi epic. If it comes into contact with a person it essentially sucks em dry / zaps their essence. Really I think this is magic bacteria, not alien bacteria and I can back this up with the scenes of the bacteria possessing non-moving metal pieces, like an ax. After having two sub-par shark movie reviews on the site (Shark Night, 2-Headed Shark Attack) it hurts me to no end to see yet another film pay homage to Jaws. Honestly, create something original instead of trying to be clever through imitation, especially with such a heavily borrowed from film. Ripping off Spielberg doesn’t make you Spielberg (or even close).

There are two beacons of light here though, and that’s a couple of small performances by Jesse Moss and Merritt Patterson who were able to rise above the material. Skip Metal Shifters, this movie originally appeared on Syfy February 12, 2011 and was just made available on DVD February 7, 2012 from Anchor Bay. Yep, a year later and only Anchor Bay would touch it, that says a lot.

Director: Paul Ziller
Stars: Kavan Smith, Colby Johannson, Nicole de Boer

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