I have watched it more times than any other film so know many of the details down to a tee. After reading some bad reviews I thought I'd add my review.
The plot focusses around 5 close childhood friends who use psychic powers bestowed upon them by Duddits - their estranged disabled friend who seems to be on everybody's mind. At the the time an alien race have infected a small town population with the Ripley virus which the military are trying to contain by cordoning off an area where the 4 friends (minus Duddits) have been brought together for a hunting excursion. As we relive their childhood stories about Duddits we realise that he is a very special boy. The main characters' very psychic abilities have caused them a sense of social alienation in their lives. They were chosen to save the world but it came at a huge cost to their every day lives and to others whose world did end as they were sacrificed for the greater cause. The opening scene demonstrates their every day struggles as we see friend and psychiatrist Henry contemplating his life whilst holding a gun to his head.
The characters interact together well and have a variety of catchphrases which they crack out at the appropriate moments - "SSDD" (same sh*t, different day), "no bounce, no play" and "f*ck me Freddy." These interactions bring a freshness to the generally bleak background. The close friendships are very believable and you find yourself caring for the characters quite quickly.
There are several scenes that are unforgettable - a variety of animals, both predators and prey, running past their shack fleeing the virus creates an element of intrigue as the characters watch on (reminding us how people can unite against a common threat/enemy); a farting hunter they find lost in the snow; a body snatching alien that takes over a character's body. This last ongoing storyline sees Damien Lewis at his absolute finest as he plays alien, Mr Gray, and College Professor Jonesy; the latter who has to hide his memories from the alien in his mind which is represented by a series of rooms and passage ways. This is an incredibly smart and exciting representation of the battle between the two characters in his mind.
Some of the scenes in this film are genuinely scary and tense - a scene where Beaver sits on a toilet trapping an alien inside, or when friend, Henry, goes for a piss whilst an alien lurks nearby in the snow, or when Morgan Freeman's character, Colonel Abraham Curtis, shoots a man in the hand as he gives him a scouts honor salute.
Donnie Wahlberg should have quite frankly gotten an oscar for his portrayal of the grown up Duddits. Few will recognise him thanks to his ability to jump into character so well.
Beaver, player by My Name is Earl and Enemy of the State's Jason Lee, is a very funny character who comes out with lines such as "some f*ckeroo this has turned out to be!". He has a very bad habit of chewing toothpicks which later comes back to haunt him.
The film is also a first for Morgan Freeman as he plays a baddie - and does he play this role well! All those years of playing nice old wise guy clearly ensured his pent-up bad side came out all in one go here. He plays a Commander who will use any means necessary in order to wipe out the Ripley virus - including exterminating those humans infected and his own squad. His most memorable lines include: "You crossed the Curtis line.", "You just avoided a court marshall boy!" and "We go in hard n fast, clean, and smilin'."
This is the perfect adaption of King's book. It seems to have become 'cool' to bash King and his work, especially by pseudointellectuals who would rather watch the film half-arsedly and give a half-arsed review. A review I read on Vice did not seem to get that the containment camps were to contain the virus and not a New World order conspiracy - Mr Whelan clearly DID NOT WATCH THE FILM! Small minds can quickly overlook and dismiss.