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Alien Abduction (2014)
IFC Films // Unrated // April 4, 2014
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fandango]
The possibility of extraterrestrial life's existence has created a large amount of controversy with people around the world. While some believe in it and even claim to have seen them, others believe that they're just a part of movies, books, and video games. However, the real fear that some people have isn't of the aliens themselves, but of the unknown. Uncertainty is one of human kind's greatest fears, and not only of extraterrestrial life. This is how aliens are able to get into so many TV shows, movies, and video games. I personally don't find aliens to be very scary. However, when it comes to horror films, nearly all of it is in the execution. Alien Abduction is the debut for both director Matty Beckerman and writer Robert Lewis, but will it leave you sleeping with the lights on or sighing in disappointment?
A vacationing family begins to notice some particularly odd things, such as floating lights in the sky. The more they notice these situations, the more suspicious they become of what might be in the sky above them. As they begin to run out of gas, they're forced to get out of their car and look around for help. They encounter an alien threat that will have them running for their lives and attempting to find a safe place to hide. This is based upon the real-life Brown Lights phenomenon in North Carolina, which has created a lot of debate and discussion for many individuals.
Any film that involves the extraterrestrial or the supernatural, less is always more. When they try to be more "in your face" with the actions of the creatures or ghosts, it destroys every bit of the tension that has been built up. This is where Alien Abduction truly excels. It doesn't focus on the aliens themselves, but on the terror that they're causing. One of the first signs of their presence is when the younger members of the family witness moving lights in the sky, which they believe to be UFOs. This motion picture focuses much more on the subtleties of creeping out its audiences by showing some weird situations, making you put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if this happened to you? In the beginning and the end of the film, we're provided with some discussions had with various people, which prove to be quite interesting to listen to. Unfortunately, this is where my compliments end, as the subtleties don't even last very long. Even though it has a few moments where it's able to capture your attention and maybe even creep you out a little bit, it fails to keep the momentum and makes it nearly turn into a parody of itself.
We never get the chance to know who the family is. We're provided with some one-dimensional traits, but that's about it. While some of them make some relatively decent decisions, others make some of the dumbest choices one could possibly make. Not only will this pull audiences out of the movie, but it will make them hate the characters that we're supposed to be rooting for. Alien Abduction tries so incredibly hard to seem realistic, that it actually ends up feeling cheesy. You'll find yourself shaking your head in disbelief more than anything else. We don't need very much character disposition, but we should care about them more than we do. In the very least, they should at least feel like a believable family. It won't take long for you to hope that they could all just disappear on alien spaceships, so we don't have to listen to them anymore.
The further that you get into the running time, the less it becomes about the subtle scares and it begins utilizing the "jump scares" that have become so popular in Hollywood horror flicks. Since Alien Abduction clearly had a lot more artistic freedom, it should have pursued a different path that could scare us in other ways. Coming from somebody who isn't even afraid of aliens, this should have left me fearing their existence, but it doesn't do anything different than most horror films involving the extraterrestrial. Once the credits start rolling, you'll already begin forgetting about it. There isn't anything here that will stick in your mind or keep you awake at night. Fortunately, Alien Abduction has under a ninety minute running time, making it a short motion picture that doesn't last too long.
Since this is supposed to be documenting a real phenomenon, it tries to convince audiences that this is authentic footage from the government, as so many films have attempted to accomplish. Director Matty Beckerman has fallen into more than just the "jump scare" cliche, as he takes the "found footage" technique in an attempt to provide a more realistic shooting style. It never becomes too shaky, and it surprisingly is effective during quite a few of the scares. However, there are a lot of tacky effects that feel forced, as the filmmakers try to make it seem as if the aliens are creating some type of interference with the camera. For those who are wondering, we never see the aliens in bright light, which is a good thing. Whether it's an alien or a demon, audiences won't be as afraid of it when they're clearly shown. Alien Abduction provides some quick glances in low-light conditions, keeping them in the dark for the majority of the running time. This makes for much more effective aliens.
Even if you have a fear of the extraterrestrial and you're looking for a good scare, you won't find that here. Director Matty Beckerman and writer Robert Lewis have created a film that utilizes its subtleties rather well through the first act, but it progressively turns into something typical and predictable as the motion picture continues. However, it isn't a very long feature and it will keep your attention. The discussions with various individuals is most certainly intriguing to hear, but there isn't anything keeping us wanting to see this family's attempt to escape the aliens with the few resources that they have. Alien Abduction never manages to truly capture audiences, but it offers a couple solid scares. Rent it.
Alien Abduction opens in theaters & VOD on Friday, April 4th, 2014.