Attack of the Unknown is a 2020 American science fiction action horror feature film written and directed by Brandon Slagle (Crossbreed; House of Manson; Dead Sea), based on a storyline by producers Michael Mahal and Sonny Mahal (Art of the Dead; Bus Party to Hell). The Mahal Empire production stars Richard Grieco, Robert LaSardo and Douglas Tait. Tara Reid has another cameo role.
As expected, most alien films are far-fetched, some even hokey to the point of paying homage to 1960s monster sci-fi movies. Attack of the Unknown generously slips into the same category, but with more ferocity and bleakness.
Vernon (Richard Grieco) is a SWAT team leader with the LAPD. Going through a divorce, losing a colleague while capturing a cartel kingpin and receiving more devastating news about his health means Verne is clearly going through a horrible rough patch in life. What does he have to look forward to? Cue in the alien invasion!
Verne and his SWAT team are literally trapped within a small jailhouse station in the middle of this apocalypse, after having relocated their newest delivery – drug lord Miguel. Faced with their inevitable death just looming several feet away, the SWAT team uses Miguel’s recollections to educate them in the folklore of these “vampires from the sky.” In the hunt for blood, these creatures are smart, menacing and yes… horribly ugly. As legend has it, human blood is their medicine. They are the Terminators and humans are all Sarah Connor. Verne’s only device is to figure out the most salvageable weapon to use against aliens before the world is completely wiped out.
As Verne’s character opens up into a considerate yet guarded man completely dedicated to upholding the law and apprehending criminals, the new threat released in the world puts him at a standstill. Verne tries to hide his vulnerable side while searching for the intruders’ weakness and staying alive in the process.
Grieco’s 21 Jump Street’s “Booker” is reminiscent of this current portrayal: sarcastic and a bit aloof yet incredibly charismatic and thoughtful. Fighting head to head with a creature in order to save a comrade is second nature to Verne, which had me biting my nails.
Although the aliens themselves aren’t the most complexed looking monsters (think of humans in costume with helmets), the fear component is still apparent through these tentacle-retracted killer hands and grotesque slime-filled faces once the head contraption is removed.
Remember this is another battle between good vs. evil, although with the unforeseen twist at the very end… who is the ultimate evil?
Meredith Brown, MOVIES and MANIA
“Attack of the Unknown is a decent action movie, and there were elements to it that I really liked. My main issue with it is the running time, as I felt that some dead air could have been whittled out of its 103 minutes. The action in the police department in the second half could have moved along a bit quicker.” Arrow in the Head
“The alien make-up isn’t the worst, but not that great either, especially with certain design specifics (tentacles!), CGI shots are used, and honestly, they really hurt the action scenes. Overall, Attack of the Unknown is a good time-killer for the genre fans, and those familiar with the mentioned names above…” BZ Film
“Attack of the Unknown makes the viewer care just enough about the main characters, without becoming ham-fisted or a self-parody. It’s more action-heavy than some of the previous Mahal Empire productions, but that’s far from a black mark against this film. It’s entertaining, the characters are fun to watch, and the action sequences are intense without being too gritty or over-the-top.” Crypt Teaze
” …this Mahal and Slagle team-up production features a worthwhile story seasoned with a touch of humor and a clever twist more sensible than M. Night’s H2O-vulnerable aliens attacking a planet full of water. Driven by outstanding performances by Grieco and LaSardo […] Attack of the Unknown is an ambitious, fun ride for indie lovers.” Pop Horror
“Attack of the Unknown is a loaded slice of science fiction pizza pie. The movie, with its excellent handling of tension (and otherworldly aliens) thanks to cinematographer Michael Su, is endlessly satisfying as its cast brings the action – you know, “real cop sh*t” – and the drama – as a mothership appears over Los Angeles and starts blowing things up – to life.” Reel Reviews
“Once the invaders finally get serious about attacking the police station Attack of the Unknown does become enjoyable. The aliens look like something out of a 50s film. And I mean that in the best sense of the term. There are some gooey effects and we even get a bit of action inside the alien craft itself […] At least twenty minutes of dialogue could have been cut and the film would have moved a lot faster.” Voices from the Balcony
Main cast and characters:
- Tara Reid … Elizabeth
- Richard Grieco … Vernon
- Robert LaSardo … Miguel ‘Hades’ Aguirre
- Douglas Tait … Maddox
- Tasha Reign … Feature Dancer #1
- Jolene Andersen … Hannah
- Gerardo de Pablos … C-Los
- Rome Romanne … Dead Detective
- Mia ScozzaFave … Axel
- J. Spencer … Detective Levinson
- Dee Cutrone … Hysterical Woman
- Robert Donavan … Weller
- Kevin Hager … Vic Luther
- Ben Stobber … Bjork
- Scott Butler … Edmund / Alien #3
- Dennyann Giambrone … Mayor Sarah Manning