Criticising ’Xtro’ for not being very cohesive is a bit like having a go at a bacon sandwich for not being kosher. In fact, the film barely registers as a narrative at all, instead operating as a surreal kaleidoscope of disturbing imagery and body horror, punctuated by death and decay and pulsating bags of offal. Frame for frame, it’s one of the most startling British films ever made, and one of the nastiest.
Mainly about a rather understaffed alien invasion, it also operates as something of a domestic drama, and is remarkably well acted for something with such an obviously low budget. In fact, ‘Xtro’ may be cheap, but it does lots of things very well, especially in terms of make-up and effects, which are actually very good. Its intentions, however, are pure exploitation, so it’s also sleazy and tacky – and hugely entertaining.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to see a malevolent dwarf doing mind magic, watch a woman give birth to a full grown man, or see an Action Man come to life and bayonet Lou Beale from ‘Eastenders’ to death, then ‘Xtro’ is definitely the film for you. If, on the other hand, you faint at the thought of raw mince, I’d give it a pretty wide berth.