starring Katherine Sigismund, Corey Eid, Riley Polanski, Jillian Clare, Peter Holden and Jeff Bowser
written by Robert Lewis
directed by Matty Beckerman
Called “Area 0” in Japan, the Morris family of five goes on a weekend camping trip to Brown Mountain, North Carolina, a spot known for mysterious lights and UFO related stuff. On their first night that’s exactly what the children see and video, mysterious lights. The entire film is shot from the perspective of a video camera operated by the youngest sibling, Riley, who has autism and uses the camera as a crutch or a vehicle for dealing with the world. So the entire movie has that jerky, hand-held camera look made most famous in the Blaire Witch Project (1999).
Alien Abduction is Matty Beckerman’s directorial debut, and the film was not well received commercially. The complaints are that it features a too generic alien plot line and too many theme park scares. But I liked it. It’s one of the few movies that I can watch together with my daughter. I prefer human dramas, romantic comedies, and a lot of classic films while she enjoys horror almost exclusively. Ever since she was a little girl she liked horror, something the Japanese excel at, I think. When I saw the trailer for Area 0 on another DVD - French-American crime action Blood Ties, starring Clive Owen, Mila Kunis and James Caan, directed by Guillaume Canet, which I hated - I looked forward to renting it because I already knew that it was in my local rental shop.
Despite being woken by strange lights on their first night at camp the Morris family is okay. On the second day they set out to change camp sites and that’s when the scary fun starts. They get lost in Appalachian mountain roads and come across a traffic tunnel filled with abandoned cars. Since they don’t have enough gasoline to turn around and go back the way they came they exit their car to investigate the tunnel. The only way out is through. Basically, the Morrises walk straight in to an alien abduction still in progress. They run screaming from the tunnel and find refuge with Sean, a local red neck mountain man. At first he seems like an inbred Appalachian twit with a gun obsession, but he turns out to be a kind and canny survivalist. The aliens are roaming the woods. The Morris numbers are dwindling as first one, then another is captured, and Sean helps the surviving members escape until morning. It’s futile, though, because the aliens are not just nocturnal hunters, they are diurnal, too. So in the morning when the last two Morrises think they are safe in the hands of a police patrol they really aren’t. As Riley Morris is captured and dragged up into an alien spacecraft he is still filming. Once aboard the spacecraft the still operating camera is ejected and falls back to earth, making for a surprise ending. But you have to sit through the credits to see the surprise.