What I'm Watching: Alien Abduction
Back with another quick Trisking, and I'm sticking with found footage flicks for the moment, but moving from haunted houses to alien abductions, with the uh...appropriately named Alien Abduction.
Okay, that's a bit on the nose, but I'll allow it. I'm surprised there aren't MORE movies with that title.
The plot is simple. A family of five go on a camping trip into the North Carolina woods, while the autistic son films everything. It's not long before the "Brown Mountain Lights" are spotted, well known UFO folklore, and when the family gets lost on the backroads the next day, the aliens show up to take them.
The bulk of the movie then follows the family as they are picked off one by one, and the ever-dwindling remaining members continue running away.
I actually really, REALLY loved this movie.
Damn you, found footage movies!
Just as I am getting so tired of the genre, I see a couple of movies that are *really good* and pull me RIGHT THE HECK BACK IN.
First off, there's the usual problems with found footage, but we all know that going in at this point. If you don't like these kinds of movies for those common tropes, you're probably not going to have a good time here. And personally, I bristle a bit at saying the kid is autistic as an excuse for him to constantly film, but it's never really a plot point in the movie, so I'll let that overuse of a stereotype slide. It could have been much worse.
The movie doesn't take too long to get to the terror, and the plot is kept bubbling until the family reaches a dark tunnel early on, and the shit really hits the fan. Y'all know going into a dark tunnel filled with empty cars in a horror movie is a terrible idea that leads to great horror. From that point on, it's a straight out race for survival that never really lets up.
The only pause in that action is when the family comes across a local guy living in the woods off the grid, and with a penchant for rifles. He's a bit of your local yokel stereotype, but he softens over time. Coming across Sean allows the family to catch their breath, and the audience to process what the heck they just saw.
And it's not long before the aliens show up to keep things rolling. And it is *definitively* aliens. There is zero question here. We SEE them. In quick glimpses, but we definitely see them. I love that there is absolutely NO ambiguity, and the movie never tries to take it back. Heck, we even go into their spaceship.
I'm pretty sure that's one reason I love this movie, and the previous one. They give you glimpses into experiences you just don't normally have. Less so with Houses, but once you get to the extreme haunt of the Blue Skeleton, it's a whole new level.
But I digress, this is about aliens! Blair Witch was just a bunch of kids walking around the woods and standing in cellar corners. That's pretty much my existence in a nutshell, so I was never really a fan. Here though, we get to see an alien abduction first hand. Heck, from the first person perspective. It's a whole new experience, and I think THAT is what makes for a good found footage movie; putting you into these scenarios you just would never be in otherwise.
I also really like how it used the common tropes of alien abduction stories, especially the well known trait that abductions often contain occurrences of electromagnetic disruption. Which is used wonderfully with the camera. Because of COURSE as the aliens are about to show up and scare the pants off us, the camera gets fuzzy and glitches. It's this movies version of the "Paranormal Activity hum". When it happens, you inch forward or cover your eyes, because shit's about to go down. Also, it lets them cut and glitch to keep the glimpses of the aliens fleeting. That's using the language of a found footage movie to great effect.
And speaking of humming, the sound of this movie is AMAZING. Whenever the aliens show up, there's the sound of the glitching camera that starts to affect you subconsciously as much as the visual, but also, the deep deep hum of the ship or whatever was practically shaking my own house whenever the aliens showed up and their spectral lights bathed the area. It's another way the movie really puts you INTO the moment, surrounded by the first person perspective, and immersing you in the sound.
I won't spoil the specifics, but GASP, the movie has an actual ending, and a good one, and even gives the potential for something...happy...ish.
I went into this movie not thinking it would be much more than mildly entertaining, and probably annoying like so many other FF flicks, but I was so pleasantly surprised. Definitely worth checking out, and it is also a refreshing break from the endless ghost hunters and monsters. Aliens need to be done more in found footage, it's a great new side of things to mine.
Yeah, I say that NOW, but I'll be sick of alien found footage movies in four months, I bet.