Movie Reviews 189 – Decoys (2003)

DecoysIt only recently came to my attention that Decoys was filmed right here in Ottawa. It sat unwatched on my DVD shelves for quite some time so upon learning this interesting fact I immediately made it a priority to watch.

Touted as a ‘low budget’ movie, it’s really a mid-budget endeavor produced by several Canadian government funds and the Space channel. Marketed as a ‘sexy’ science-fiction/horror movie, the DVD packaging description and photos of bra wearing young women all allude that this may be closer to a ‘quick buck’ soft core porn. Even the pre-movie rating banner gives it a surprising R rating, warning of “nudity”. But aside from a few scant boob scenes (I’ve seen more cleavage in some light comedies) it is nothing of the sort and does a disservice to the movie which was much better than I expected.

Swiping plot elements from SpeciesThe Hidden and a touch of The Arrival, all of which would otherwise relegate this to being a mediocre mashup movie, the plot adds just enough novelty to the premise to distinguish the movie. But some great characters (and all round fine casting and acting), a decent script, and some last minute surprises makes this eminently enjoyable.

Set in a university campus ghetto,  Luke (Corey Sevier) and his best friend Roger (Elias Toufexis) are lamenting their ineptitude and recent misfortunes with women when suddenly two new, hot students girls move into their complex. Lilly (Stefanie von Pfetten) and Constance (Kim Poirier) quickly prance and tease their way into the boys lives and the rest of the university functions. Meanwhile the frozen corpses of male students are popping up at an alarming rate around the campus which puts detectives Kirk (Richard Burgi) and Watts (Nicole Eggert), Luke’s old flame, on the case.

Luke discovers that the new girls are not what they seem, and a preference and immunity to extreme cold temperatures are not the least of the girls unique characteristics. Despite the discovery, he falls for Lilly while Constance starts taking a shine to Roger. But are the boys simply their next victims or are they genuinely falling in love? But in order to accomplish their goal, which includes successfully copulating with a male, the girls have to unleash their inner beasts and that can be a problem for mere mortal humans.

Some nifty (if now outdated) effects satisfy the horror and creepiness factors but the movie is more focused on the interesting relationship angles and all the academic hijinx one would expect in the chosen setting. The true accomplishment of the movie however is how it actually manages to garner a sympathetic stance towards the girls in the final act. It’s far from perfect (the whole ex-girlfriend cop angle is completely useless and should have been left on the cutting room floor), but still a fun movie with just the right amount of horror. I particularly liked how the cold  Canadian climate is weaved into the story and setting and all the snow and slush really made me feel right at home. And the best part is that I recently found out there is a sequel,  Decoys 2: Alien Seduction. Cool, eh!

And in case you were curious, there were no wooden or plastic ducks in this movie.  Not sure about the sequel.

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