One Van Versus a Parasitic Alien Invasion  Direct Download

Download One Van Versus a Parasitic Alien Invasion  Movie Download

If the alien apocalypse were to happen right now what would you do? One would find it a nightmare if they were stuck in an Uber with strangers as an alien comes up to the car and sucks the life out of the driver, ultimately possessing him. That, in summary, is the premise of The Passenger.

The Passenger hails from Spain, although its actors have been in the broader Spanish-speaking world for quite a while now. Known as La Pasajera in Spanish, this road movie blends elements of horror, science fiction, and comedy to create quite a unique ambiance. The movie first screened at Sitges International Film Festival in Spain, which is well-known for the horror and fantasy films it selects to compete. Long-time friends Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez teamed up to co-direct The Passenger, which would be Cerezo’s debut feature film. He boasts a rather impressive filmography when it comes to short films.


However, Gómez is no stranger to the horror genre, as he directed movies like The Working Dead and Downunder—a movie that follows a similar premise, although with tweaks. Cerezo came up with the initial premise of this movie, although he was not involved with the actual screenwriting process. Those credits go to Luis Sánchez-Polack, Asier Guerricaechebarría, and Javier Echániz.

The stars of The Passenger are Ramiro Blas, Paula Gallego, Cristina Alcázar, and Cecilia Suárez. Those familiar with Mexican cinema and entertainment may recognize Suárez, who has had a prolific career across national borders and was the first Spanish-speaking actress nominated for an Emmy. This cast is one to watch out for as the movie progresses, as they flexed their acting abilities while being largely confined to a single space: a car. Or, to be specific, a van.

Four Strangers, One Van, One Destination

In its opening scene, The Passenger has an unsettling pan across a dark forest. The road is covered in fog, and a hiker wearing a backpack emerges from a forest looking pretty worn out. As he desperately holds his cellphone out in front of him, panting, attempting to get the compass on its screen to start working, its screen goes haywire, and it starts to spark. His companion, a woman, seems unamused when he throws his phone onto the ground and attempts to walk away. They begin to accept their fate and sit on the ground as ominous music begins to play, and just as they think their golden chariot has arrived to take them away, a zombie-like woman in high heels and a sequined dress begins to eat the man. So begins the antics of The Passenger in a rather unnecessary scene—while it is cliché, it all does not add much to the mythos that the story is trying to create.

This establishing shot sets up the story and viewers for what is to come, but until the fun can begin, the camera takes a step back to the story’s real protagonists. First, there is Carlos (Ramiro Blas), who owns the van the majority of the story takes place within. A former exterminator and bullfighter, he is the perfect companion to the three young women who will soon occupy his van. He has a classic misogynistic streak that tends to expose itself with his stickers of women in tight-fitted suits holding guns. Mariela (Cecilia Suárez) is deeply religious but embarks on this journey to see her father again. Mother and daughter combo Lidia (Cristina Alcázar) and Marta (Paula Gallego) join them and have their own issues, making them seem like stony-faced virtual strangers to not only their companions but each other as well.

No one in the group has ever met each other before this moment, except the mother and daughter creating the perfect opportunity to expose who they really are through dire moments of extreme stress. The first inkling something is amiss happens when Carlos’ friend says that he saw a flash in the sky, but it is waved off pretty quickly as he stops to pick up Lidia and Marta. When they choose to take a back road instead of the national highway, so begins the movie’s real plot. A crashed spaceship is on the side of the road, and while Carlos shrugs it off as something that must belong to the government, Marta touches a strange, moving blob right next to it and slowly begins to see the side effects of her actions after Carlos hits a woman standing in the middle of the road.

It’s a Parasitic Alien Invasion

The core premise behind The Passenger is that these four strangers are now up against the alien invasion. In a similar vein to movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, these aliens are taking over bodies one by one, consuming their guts, then demonically hunting down the next host to consume. As it switches from human to human, it leaves behind a husk that looks like it is in the process of decay. When that process is first revealed, one might think it is completely and utterly disgusting.

One of the best parts about the movie is that it is not shy at all about what it chooses to show on the screen. Some shots pay homage to their distant alien and science fiction ancestors as the alien howls at the sky while looking for its prey. It is bloody, there are some fairly interesting special effects involved with how the aliens look and act. They constantly scream and shriek, have an unclear ability to teleport, are capable of chasing a moving car, and have a penchant for beheading those they might see as unappetizing.

There is no fluff trying to figure out where these aliens come from, and the hints of an overall invasion are there but not thoroughly discussed. That plays into the movie’s favor, as the viewer does not need any of those external details. It would detract from the overarching stories about the characters and their journey to survive, so it seems fitting to keep its scope small in terms of story.

Related: Best Horror Comedies of the 2000s, Ranked

A Long Car Ride That Creates Intimacy

On the surface level, The Passenger’s cast of characters each represents some sort of stereotype. Carlos is the man who was once a bullfighter riding around in a van after losing his eye, talking to his buddies about sports, and trying to pretend that he is a macho man. Mariela is the religious Mexican who just wants to come home to see her father, praying when the opportunity seems just about right. Marta is the rebellious teenage child who talks back and tries to act like she is older than she actually is, while her mother wants to have a relationship with her and does not know how to create said relationship.

As the plot progresses, the true depth of the characters becomes exposed gradually. More information and context are added to their specific backstories, fleshing them out and making the viewer want to root for them. Even as the setting and world around them become more inhumane and unfamiliar, these characters increasingly become the only source of familiarity left. Since they are trapped inside the van and only have each other, they form unique bonds that can only be severed through death.

There is also quite a bit of character development outside of revealing their backstories. Perhaps that is one of the special appeals of alien movies: people begin to realize what they took for granted when the world begins to splinter before their eyes. They are in it for not only their survival but each other’s as well by the end. However, Carlos falls flat the most as a character, as he openly justifies why he is the way he is even in a moment of life or death.

He may not have realized that fact then, but as the movie progresses towards its final moments, it almost feels like his behavior and mentality are almost being justified because he may do a noble deed or two. It should not need to be said, but blatant misogyny and sexism can never be truly acceptable even if this man won the Nobel Peace Prize three times in a row. It is ambiguous towards the end, but some may see that ambiguity to be a major problem.

Overall, The Passenger is a solid movie and a piece of good filmmaking. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is entertaining, imaginative, and quite the throwback to the science fiction movies released in the sixties and seventies. While the beginning is slower, providing the exposition of who, what, when, and why for the characters, the film’s second half literally sprints until the end. The stakes keep climbing, only getting higher and higher with each passing minute.


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