Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Alien Abduction

***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 (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Let the anal probe jokes begin!

Alien Abduction – 2 out of 5

It’s hard to make an alien abduction film that works and it’s even harder to make it work when you pair it with the overused element of “found footage.”   Due to a seamlessly never ending barrage of cheaply produced films, the “found footage” subgenre has quickly become synonymous with bad filmmaking (or, more accurately, cheap filmmaking) and it’s hard to not assume the worst when you sit down to watch one of these.  I’ve admitted over and over again that I’m not a fan of these features (but do concede that there are some really great ones out there) but I always admit that this subgenre is overflowing with potential.  So, how does the 2014 Alien Abduction do with “found footage?”  Well…not so well.

Whoever made this camera outdid the rest of the competition because it
literally survives re-entry and didn't burn up and only suffered cosmetic damage.

Peter Morris (Peter Holden) and his wife Katie (Katherine Sigismund) decide to take their three children camping out in the woods of North Carolina.  Everything seems to be going well for the parents and their kids; the eldest son Corey (Corey Eid), their daughter Jillian (Jillian Clare) and their autistic son Riley (Riley Polanski).  To cope with his autism, Riley documents everything going on around them on his camcorder and, while doing so, accidentally films some mysterious lights in the sky.  According to experts, the mountains they are camping in are renowned for UFO activity but it seems that lights in the sky isn’t the only thing the Morris family will experience.  After getting lost on their way to their second campsite, they encounter a slew of abandoned cars near a tunnel.  When they go to investigate, they are horrified to find that life from beyond the moon has landed and they are looking to collect human lives.  The family must now flee for their life or be taken away…

So, the aliens save money by making your face do all their anal probing?

For the most part, Alien Abduction isn’t that bad of a “found footage” thriller.  It has a moment or two that is a decent jump scare and acts as a fairly good surprise.  The entire scene where they first encounter an alien is terrifically put together and the acting, while not the greatest, is pretty decent and more than serviceable for the film.  However, the one thing I really enjoyed about this film, above any and everything else, was the fact the film actually presented a real reason for filming to constantly take place.  Even when the alien goo shit is hitting the oscillating fantaphizer and Riley should really be dropping the camera and running away from the alien and their probes, he keeps filming and, unlike a dozen other “found footage” films, it actually makes sense since he is autistic and uses the camera as a coping mechanism.  However, with these elements I enjoyed, I still wasn’t thoroughly impressed with the film and wasn’t wholly entertained.

The constant recording is explained but the hair helmet isn't.

Is that alien moonwalking?
I can overlook that, when you actually get a decent look at them, the aliens look very cheap and almost appear to be store bought costumes but the real killer to this film is two-fold.  The first real killer for Alien Abduction was the addition of a character that wasn’t a member of the family and was a mountain man that the family runs into after they first encounter the aliens.  He’s a typical country bumpkin/"Obama is coming to take my guns" type and that, in and of itself, isn’t that bad but the actor playing him wasn’t the greatest and came off way too cartoony.  Until he showed up, the rest of the cast is doing a fairly decent job—even with the weak attempts the script offers up to introduce and feather out these family members—and this actor just can’t quite match them.  He’s not terrible but he’s a little too hammy.

Gah!  An alien--oh wait, it's the redneck mountain man.

He must have watched the latest Adam Sandler
I can also overlook the fact that within the first few minutes of the film the story hits several horror film tropes—like getting lost in the middle of nowhere, running out of gas AND having the car die all within rapid succession of each other and I can even overlook that the film, for some reason or another, decided to include the internet viral hit song that is “Smell Yo Dick” but I can’t overlook how repetitive the film’s plot gets.  After the awkward introduction to the characters and story, and the cliché lead up to the film’s main point of conflict, the plot ends up going in circles as it involves the family running from the aliens, being found by the aliens, seeing the aliens take one member of the family and then, once again, running from the aliens.  Then it repeats all over again.  That’s pretty much the film and it makes the final product overwhelmingly tedious.

Is that alien shitting?

I honestly expected Alien Abduction to be far worse and far cheaper looking.  Too often when I sit down to a “found footage” film, I expect a director and writer to fart out a quickly made film in an attempt to get the most return for their investment but this one was a little better than I anticipated.  The scares were very predictable and were almost always easily telegraphed jump scares but there’s definitely a moment or two that work, the acting isn’t incredible but it wasn’t terrible either (even from the redneck guy) and even though the aliens look cheap, at least the film actually had a solid foundation for why the entire story is being filmed.  The movie doesn’t break new ground in the world of science fiction, terror, thrills or even “found footage” but the film is half-way entertaining and offers up a well-crafted moment or two.

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