Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Alien Abduction (2014)

Title: Alien Abduction
Year: 2014
Director: Matty Beckerman

Alien Abduction is a found footage film that exploits the Brown Mountain Lights phenomenon to craft (and I use that term loosely) a well worn tale of extraterrestrial kidnapping and procto-probing. The film begins (and ends — if the title doesn't make it obvious enough, the spaceship scene that bookends the movie makes it clear what happens to our protagonists so this isn't spoiling anything) with a jerkily held camera moving through a murky spaceship populated with aliens experimenting on screaming humans only to be dropped out of the ship's garbage shoot and back to earth [these aliens may be grays but they aren't green]. The camera's recovery by the USAF is the reason why we have the leaked footage for our viewing pleasure.

The footage itself documents a family camping vacation in the North Carolina wilderness. The day after a nighttime encounter with the Brown Mountain Lights, the family of five — parents Katie (Katherine Sigismund) and Peter Morris (Peter Holden) and children Corey (Corey Eid), Riley (Polanski) and Jillian (Jillian Clare) — gets misdirected toward a tunnel filled with ransacked cars, their occupants all missing. Soon gray aliens appear, taking the father and pursuing the rest, who flee to an isolated cabin inhabited by Sean (Jeff Bowser). After some initial misgivings, Sean agrees to help the family. Together they endure a night of terror, with the characters picked off one by one.

Dialogue and acting in the film is across the board bad, the epitome of these weaknesses being an unintentionally comical flip out scene by the father in the moving car once they realize they might be lost. Having autistic Riley's therapeutic attachment to the camera explain why everything is being filmed is a bit of a novel approach to the found footage genre but it's still ludicrous to imagine that anyone would keep the video running in the midst of being viciously attacked by aliens, especially when the camera's light isn't needed to see. Sean is an abrasive 'hillbilly with a heart of gold' straight out of central casting. The found footage trope of populating the film with exasperatingly irritating characters is thankfully a bit subdued in this movie, but if an Alien Abduction drinking game were to be played whereby viewers would be obliged to do a shot every time someone said "Riley, come on!" they would be all be dead in 20 minutes.

It wouldn't be a found footage film without shaky cam, but Alien Abduction takes it a bit further by establishing that the camera goes haywire anytime aliens approach. While this may benefit the limited special effects budget, it doesn't effectively build tension nor does it help viewers who might actually want to the see the aliens do their thing.

The bright lights and sound in the film borrow heavily from countless other alien abduction flicks. Instead of coming up with something original, the aliens make insectoid noises and their technology sounds like a blaring mating of foghorn and freight train. Though its spine cracking property is something different, the alien tractor beam is also genre standard. With the possible exception of the tunnel sequence, really there isn't a single scene or element of this film that stands above or apart from those present in other better alien abduction movies. Lack of chills can be compensated somewhat by a fun factor, but Alien Abduction distinctly lacks both.

Rating: 3/10

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