Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Brown Mountain Project: "Alien Abduction" (2014)

Aside from the generic title and some pretty bad "Airforce" footage, this film is quite the little chiller. It is hard to make the silliness of alien abduction scary, but director Matty Beckerman does an admirable job with Robert Lewis' sometimes repetitive script.

The Morris family- Dad Peter (Pete Holden), Mom Katie (Katherine Sigismund), teen son Riley (Riley Polanski), teen daughter Jillian (Jillian Clare), and young autistic son Corey (Corey Eid)- is on a camping trip to Brown Mountain in the backwoods of North Carolina. You've heard of Brown Mountain, haven't you? Strange lights, creepy disappearances, and such? Well, the Morrises don't care and head out. The entire film is edited from little autistic Corey's video camera, and according to some beginning graphics and footage, this was found by the Air Force's Project: Blue Book- a government program to investigate UFOs (and a short-lived TV series from the late '70's...hmm, just dated myself right there).

The family sees the strange lights one night, but still head deeper into the woods the next morning, coming upon a tunnel full of abandoned vehicles. Peter is attacked by a shadowy alien creature, and the rest of the family must survive in an isolated cabin after being taken in by redneck Sean (Jeff Bowser).

While many jump cuts provide the most scares, director Beckerman seems to have actually planned out many of Corey's camera shots, meaning the shakiness is convincing without making you want to throw up. There is more than enough tributes to "The Blair Witch Project," and this film stands up well against the grand daddy of all found footage horror flicks. The special effects are effective because they don't try to do too much. Some of the scenes get bogged down in familiarity. It is intimated early on that Corey's camera goes a little haywire when the aliens are around, so it's a safe bet that when it is working fine, then the scary noise the cast hears is probably something harmless. I also doubt the servicemen involved in the Project Blue Book events wore uniforms with "PROJECT BLUE BOOK" written on them. That scene had me laughing.

I was impressed with "Alien Abduction," and watching it in a darkened room in the middle of the night only heightened the suspense. Nicely done all around. (* * * *) out of five stars.