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Aberration (May 24/01)

There are so many direct-to-video horror movies practically being released weekly, that when you stumble upon one that's actually well made and fairly entertaining, you don't easily forget it. Aberration is one such flick.

Pamela Gidley stars as a vacationing city girl who's decided to come back to the cabin of her childhood. She's brought along her cat and not much else, and she's hoping for some relaxation. But she begins to hear strange noises throughout the house, and the cat food she keeps putting out always winds up eaten before the cat can touch it. Eventually, the cat is massacred (obviously) and now she knows something is up. A wandering research scientist working the area meets up with her, and the two get to work figuring out what's going on (clue: it ain't rats...)

The first half hour or so of Aberration basically consists of Gidley by herself in the cabin (along with occasional trips to the local store) and that's it. And that's what made Aberration stand out from the rest of the low-budget horror dreck that washes up in video stores. It really took its time to get going. When Gidley and the scientist finally discover who (or what) is behind all this, there's a lot of action, but it's at the point where we know these two characters (well, ok, the research scientist not as much) and care what happens to them.

Gidley, the actress, is not someone I'm that familiar with but she's really good here. She brings a lot of vulnerability and toughness to this role that's note-perfect. The research scientist guy isn't as good because towards the end, they turn him into an Army of Darkness Ash-like clone, complete with corny one-liners ("welcome to the bottom of the food chain!"). And the monsters are a little cheesy looking (and no way belie the extremely low-budget), but generally they're convincing enough.

Don't be expecting any great shakes when you rent Aberration, but if (like me) you rent it expecting another suckfest, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised. And here's hoping that Gidley doesn't wind up doing small movies like this for the rest of her career. She's got a ton of charisma and she's not bad to look at, either.

But that guy who played the research scientist...

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