Alien Abduction (2014)
Alien encounter films can be the most cliché and ineffective genre of films. There are few that successfully capture their intended horrific atmosphere. Dark Skies did nothing for me. Altered was a snoozer to me. The Knowing? Blah.
With such a generic title, (Alien Abduction – could you think of anything less original) I wasn’t expecting much. It sounded like one of those budget SyFy, cookie-cutter films – you know, with a sexy, big-boobed, military woman, wearing a camouflage, tank-top, tee-shirt and wielding a huge semi-automatic machine gun. However, the trailer looked interesting enough and I decided to give it a try.
Which reminds me, when is Netflix streaming going to make it so you can watch the trailers? The technology is there… get one of your employees in India to spend a day loading them in. I mean, come on already! Am I right?
The film starts and it’s a found footage film. I had no clue from the trailer that it was an FF film. Points off for that.
A young autistic boy is hyper-attached to his video camera. He barely says ten words in the whole film. His family is on a camping trip to Brown Mountain. On the first night the kids are awakened by strange lights. Emerging from their tents they see strange balls of light in the sky above the peak of Brown Mountain. In the morning, the video camera is dead and they can’t show their parents the footage until the batteries recharge. By that time, they are on the road again and get lost on a back road leading to Brown Mountain‘s summit. With the video camera back in service they come upon abandoned cars. They reach a tunnel in the mountain with cars and vehicles clogging their path. The Dad and his two sons go to investigate while Mom and the daughter stay back at the Caravan. When the men enter the dark tunnel, all hell breaks loose! From that point on, the film turns into a jarring creep-fest as the family is hunted down by aliens. They are picked off, one by one, in a thrilling attack and retreat cycle, which really boosts the tension and elevates the terror of the film.
At times the usual FF techniques are a bit monotonous and all too familiar, but there are enough tense scenes to keep you interested. The anger of the Dad about getting lost seems over-the-top. I remember being on road trips as a boy and my Dad getting mad, but not like that.
I think the quick flashes of aliens in the moving camera adds to the creepiness, showing just enough of the creatures to be freaky. There’s no strong violence in the film – as with most alien encounter films – it relies mostly on mood, atmosphere and suspense, which it does a good job conveying.
If you scoff at the premise of an alien abduction film, you’d be better off to leave this be. And if you dislike FF films, you are best advised to stay away. However if you are okay with both of these concepts, Alien Abduction is a very good entry into this genre. While it doesn’t offer any new ideas to the genre, the first person POV puts you squarely in the action. Decent acting, likable characters, and alien effects/make-up by the Chiodo Brothers make for a well-made film.
A tense alien encounter and abduction film in the found footage style – worth a watch for those who like the genre.
I give the film 3.8 illuminations on the strange lights in the sky scale.
The film includes interviews of residents who actually witnessed the Brown Mountain Lights, a phenomenon that has occurred frequently in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Foothills for the past century.
Read more about the true phenomenon here:
And, for a completely different veiw/opinion of Alien Abduction 2014, check out the review at John’s Horror Corner
I thought this looked pretty decent but I always get sucked in by a decent looking trailer. Maybe I’ll go for it this week.
I thought it was good. When I was a kid I went on many road trips with my family so I kinda’ related to many of the scenes in the film.
Thanks for the review. I’m often pretty lukewarm on the genre, too (The Fourth Kind? guh), but this sounds watchable.
One question, though: you mention that the kid’s camera dies at one point. Does it switch to a traditional third-person perspective at that point, or does it somehow remain FF?
If you saw VHS 2, this is similar to the alien segment in that film. As for the camera going dead, no they don’t switch POV. The scene just cuts from the night scene to the driving scene and then the dialogue mentions why there was a cut… or just eludes to it – it felt natural, not forced.
Oh, I see. That’s good, then.
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Hmm…not too sure about getting around to this one. Tired and bored of both AA and FF movies for now, I suppose, but I am not totally against catching it one night on Netflix if I have nothing else to watch. Thanks, Mike!
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