***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County - 2 out of 5
One year before The Blair Witch Project simultaneous gave birth to a new genre of film and then proceeded to curse us with this new genre called "found footage," the UPN network (remember them?) aired a movie called Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County that was a shot-for-short remake of a supposedly real home video recording of a family called the McPhersons being taken by visitors from another galaxy.
|He just realized he's in a horror film and he's black.|
The movie starts with young Tommy trying out his new camcorder, much to the chagrin of his family (this fact isn't expressed through acting, mind you, there is literally about ten minutes of footage of the family discussing the camera, its purchase and the very act of recording anything. Because people in real life have these type of conversations when they see a camera). The family tries to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner but the power goes out. Several of the McPherson men (and Tommy with the camera) go outside to check the fuses and they stumble upon an alien craft (which looks suspiciously like the one from E.T. The studio must have had a garage sale) and while watching the aliens engage in a little cattle mutilation, they accidentally upset the little green men and a war of attrition and a large scoop of psychological warfare begins. Through terror tactics, the aliens start to pick off the family one by one, taking the stronger males first and leaving the women (and Tommy) last.
|Meet Tommy, annoying little brother, pants pisser and all around unconvincing actor.|
This movie was slightly more interesting than 99% of other found footage films because, well, it was one of the first ones made and the fact it was actually done on a camcorder and not an high quality camera shaken a few times to make it look like the guy behind the camera is actually operating it. Kristian Ayre (who plays Tommy) is actually the guy holding the camera and since it's a crummy, VHS camcorder, the quality makes the film look more authentic than the high definition cameras we saw in Apollo 18 (that movie took place in the 70s, for eff sake). So, right as the film kicks off, it's got more street cred than all three Paranormal Activity films combined.
|That alien looks like he's closing the door to the bedroom. Rectal probing is on the way.|
However, like all found footage films, it suffers from all the things that make these movies suck. The lack of realism, horrible acting and a lack of scares--they're all here. If you were ever in a situation, whether being terrorized by a demon, finding rock aliens on the moon on the secret Apollo mission or accidentally alerting visiting alien to your presence, your last concern would be keeping the camera rolling. Instead, you would be pissing your pants and possibly throwing the camera at your attacker in a way the gangsters always threw their guns at Superman when they saw the bullets didn't work. However, this movie got one thing realistic...the camera kid DID piss himself. However, we then have to deal with him filming himself changing his pants. And then you have the grandmother who, even when things are at their worse, will not release the wine glass she is holding and even keeps drinking while the aliens are tormenting the house. Because that's a realistic action taken by a person.
|Seriously Grandma, you're about to be destroyed by aliens, put down the wineglass.|
The most distracting part of this film beyond the terrible and completely unconvincing acting (I think the actors believed that to show being scared meant to never stop screaming) is the fact that it is said this movie is a shot-for-shot remake of an actual tape. If there is an actual tape, why waste the money to remake it? Why not just broadcast the actual tape? Or could it be this tape doesn't exist? I've tried and I've tried, searched and searched for the real footage on the internet. Every forum and website I've been to have claimed to have it but you are either directed towards this movie or a link that conveniently had to pull the movie for legal reasons or other such bull plop.
|The youngest in the McPherson troop...possibly an alien also.|
Let's be honest, there is no McPherson tape. It was all just clever marketing to sell this movie when it aired on UPN in 1998. And here's the kicker, the marketing worked because millions of people fell for it. People thought what was being aired was a real abduction tape. Orson Welle's corpse had a good laugh that day because if you watch the tape, spend a single second to see the bad acting (possibly even recognizing the grandmother from her previous work on Millennium or The X-Files) and did your best to contain your laughter at the short dudes in the alien costumes, you would realize this wasn't real and the fact that there were people out there who believed it was both amusing and frightening to me because they are or probably have had children and are passing along this inability to live in the real world to their offspring.
|Despite the aliens having credits at the end, people still thought this was real.|
Also, don't bother trying to pronounce Alien 3's real name, greater men have tried and failed.
Since Alien Abduction came during a time before these movies were churned out on an assembly line in order to get quick cash from a gullible audience, there is one shocking thing in this movie that you won't see in the yearly release of the Paranormal Activity franchise...actual hair-raising scenes. The movie is never flat out scary and, like PA, is slow movie, annoying and boring for 95% of its running time but, believe it or not, there are some sequences (one or two) that actually used its format well and made a shiver run up and down my spine. So, add that to the fact that there were some scenes that spooked me in The Blair Witch Project and I am now totally convinced that the early found footage films were made to be groundbreaking and were a new step in the world of horror that ended up become a bastardization of one's self and nothing but an excuse to make a cheap film for a big return. I always suspected but this one proved it to me.
|Wait a minute...is that alien in the back giving a "Heil Hitler?" Iron Sky stole its story from this movie.|
I still think found footage films are crap. I still find them to be cheap pieces of garbage that is made for the mindless masses who don't want to concern themselves with pesky things like character, plot or story and that annoying thing called acting. However, Alien Abduction proved to be on the "okay" side of the spectrum of this formulaic horror sub-genre. The movie offers up a moment or two that will creep you out but you still need to deal with bad acting, unrealistic character actions and an overwhelming amount of boredom. If you want to see a well made found footage film (although it's not a horror film one) I highly suggest you check out TrollHunter. That movie is found footage done right.