TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN
Top of the Food Chain enters a field that has been well and truly worked to death, although less by repetition than it has by unimaginative handling. Top of the Food Chain reminds considerably of the aforementioned Big Meat Eater it is, like Big Meat Eater, a Canadian film and a cod science-fiction genre spoof wherein various heroic poses and cliché absurdities from bad science-fiction movies are played in exaggerated deadpan. The plot of aliens invading a small town and the same giddy kitsch style is almost identical to Big Meat Eater, although director John Paizs assures me he has not seen the former film.
To Top of the Food Chains favour, it emerges from more of a comedy background than it does from an exploitation background. It is an incredibly silly film wilfully so. If anything, it reminds one of a Monty Python skit where people talk in falsetto voices and go on about the Man with the Silly Walk from the Ministry of Silly Walks. All the resolute deadpan and people in faux dramatic poses mouthing cliché dialogue sits just between being genuinely funny and so frenetically silly it wearies. Eventually though, enough of it hits that Top of the Food Chain comes out on the side of the agreeably funny.
Certainly, Top of the Food Chain is a well made film. Even though its budget was not substantially higher than most of the abovementioned deliberately bad films, it looks a good deal more professionally polished. The effects of the aliens and the surprisingly convincing gore is conducted with an enterprising ingenuity. The film also brings in a professional cast notably Campbell Scott who has a good line in deadpan heroic posturing. However, the show is fairly much stolen by Fiona Loewi who does all the breathless, eyelid-batting expected of her with exuberant elan.
Canadian director John Paizs had previously made Crime Wave (1985), a parody of 1950s crime movies, and went onto make Marker (2005) about a town where women grow horns.