Starring: Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton, Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed By: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written By: Olatunde Osunsanmi
As I sat down to watch this film I had a preconception of what it was going to be like, but I didn't expect the film to be portrayed in the way it was, so without much knowledge of the film I was surprised to see what it really was. I knew that it was a film based around the notion of alien abduction, and I had seen the trailers which stated that the first kind is sighting a UFO; the second kind is evidence of alien beings, the third kind is contact with them, and the fourth kind is abduction. After this I was well aware that alien abduction would be the focal point of the film, but like I said it was told in a way I was not expecting at all.
The movie starts with Milla Jovovich on screen, identifying herself as Milla Jovovich. She states that she will be playing Dr Abigail Tyler who is a psychologist in Nome, Alaska who has experienced an alien encounter. We are then taken to an interview with the director of the film, Osunsanmi, and the real life Dr Tyler. From there on we are told her story via her interview interspersed with the reconstruction starring Jovovich, and actual footage and recordings taken at the time of the encounter. The overall story is about residents of Nome seeing a strange owl at night, which stares them out and keeps them awake. They all head to see Dr Tyler and when she hypnotises them in order to dig deeper she opens a part of their memory which was meant to be left undiscovered. Once this has taken place the patients go on to experience terrible accidents or commit terrible crimes, meaning the blame is soon to come back on Dr Tyler. When she also begins to see the owl she soon understands that the residents of the town are being abducted by aliens and have their memory of it wiped, only for it to become discovered via the hypnosis. After Dr Tyler witnesses the alien beings she is ridiculed by the local Sheriff and is labelled a suspect in the disappearance of other patients of hers who have seen this owl. Despite her close friend and a language expert believing and witnessing her alien encounter she still struggles to convince the Sheriff of her ordeal, even after her daughter is abducted by the aliens.
I quite liked the way this film was told. It is like the film is a cross between a narrative, a documentary, and a reconstruction. This is what makes it kind of unique in this found footage formula. It does label itself as a true story and people may chose to believe it is, but I for one was not convinced and I'm sure I have read articles that it is all a hoax. Despite that though the way the film was presented made me believe up until the credits rolled. (One reason it was obvious it was fake however was when people seemed to record everything they done in the same position as the 'found footage' was shot). The reason I was engrossed in it and believed in the fiction of it all was because of the performances of the actors in the 'found footage'. It is really as if they are actual people telling their story. Like I said a couple of things make it obvious it is fake but some of the mystery and the believability in the footage parts do make you question the truth of it all.
The film is edited with many split screens which mirrors up the 'found footage' with the reconstruction narrative and it is interesting to see how similar they are and told word for word. This editing is also used when hearing video recordings or telephone conversations. This way of editing just added something to the feel of the movie. It is difficult to establish the genre of it but I think the way it is presented seems to invent its own kind of genre. The 'found footage' was believable and some was frightening, and on the other hand the reconstructions were spot on to what we would believe and the performances are good. The interview between the 'real' Dr Tyler is so well done that you need to search for the points that discredit it.
All in all it was a fairly good film, something different to what you would normally see with this sort of plot. There are moments which ruin it such as the music plastered over the top of the reconstruction, which does discredit the believability of it, however don't listen to the critics who have slated it, it isn't that bad. It will never win any awards but there is something fresh about the way it is told, and real or not it still had me jumping and hiding behind the covers.
3 / 5
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