Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Film Review: Alien Abduction (2014)

Alien Abduction (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...there is some decent suspense and some solid scares."

During their vacation camping trip, a family encounters aliens...

It's really that simple. Alien Abduction is told through the perspective of a young boy named Riley, who uses a camera to cope with his autism -- a unique concept, much better than the "we have to record everything." Anyway, much like Absence, the film begins with the routine family vacation tapes; unlike Absence, though, this segment only takes 15 or 20 minutes instead of an hour. Afterwards, the family simply runs always from the alien force and try to avoid being abducted. The ending was abrupt and underwhelming; also, there is almost 11 minutes of credits in this film with a very short scene during.

Alien Abduction is very simple yet somewhat creative. Most found-footage films nowadays revolve around ghosts and exorcisms, so I applaud Alien Abduction for focusing on, well, aliens. However, the film is severely hindered by found-footage genre clichés. The characters are run-of-the-mill cutouts, there's the classic shaky cam, and the "stop recording, we're arguing" scenes. Oh, and the "something's going on, but the camera's malfunctioning" scenes.

Aside from the found-footage clichés, there is some mild suspense. Not nail-biting, but at least slightly engaging. The climax for most of these scenes are the aforementioned camera malfunctioning scenes, so they're weak. You hear a lot of screaming -- and I mean a lot of screaming -- but you rarely get the opportunity to see what's going on. The small peeks we get at the aliens are decent, but it doesn't quite quench the thirst. The first encounter with the aliens is great, though, I liked the buildup and execution.

The acting is okay from most of the cast, especially considering the genre. The only complaint I had was from Riley Polanski who, of course, plays Riley; maybe it was his delivery or maybe it was the editing, but his voice always sounds disconnected from the rest of the film, almost like a voiceover. Otherwise, it's pretty much a standard found-footage film. The shaky cam is often nauseating, though. Director Matty Beckerman has an intriguing concept, but the reliance on the simple found-footage clichés makes this film feel like just another entry on a genre grown stale.

Overall, Alien Abduction is a mediocre film. I like the concept -- by that, I mean I like the aliens -- and there is some decent suspense and some solid scares. But, Alien Abduction ultimately falls into generic territory, which makes it even more disappointing considering I enjoyed the concept. It's better than similar films like Absence, but never reaches its full potential. If you like aliens and found-footage, you might find some enjoyment in this -- it's barely longer than an hour, so it won't be wasting much of your time, anyway.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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