Also Known as The McPherson Tape, this was one of the forefathers of the current found footage craze. Released a year before the ground breaking The Blair Witch Project the movie was actually a remake of an even earlier film simply titled as Alien Abduction which was released in 1989. Part movie/part mockumentary it tells the story of a family sitting down for thanksgiving at their farm when the power goes out. Three of the family members (including the one with the camera who feels the need to record everything) go out to investigate and find a spaceship complete with the ‘Grey Aliens’ mutilating a cow. When the aliens discover they have been filmed they terrorize the family over several hours before eventually abducting them. The film ends with the aliens hypnotizing the family in to leaving with them and the movie implies they have not been heard from since even going as far as to asking for people to help with finding them.
This movie has all the classic trademarks of a found footage movie. The one holding the camera feels the need to film everything even when everyone else is shouting at him to put the camera away. There are scenes where he puts the camera down to do something and rather than turn it off like every other time this is the one time it actually captures something. Another problem the movie has is that its horror is built up on the low quality of what we are seeing (so you believe its real) then when you get the big reveal of the aliens it fails to work and ends up looking comical. The mockumentary sections failed to impress as well and just seemed like a bunch of community college level actors hoping this will be their big break. Some of the actors in this movie did indeed go on to bigger things with Aaron Pearl, who played “Kurt McPherson”, going on to star in films such as Man of Steel!
All those things aside however this movie was not without its scares. I will be honest and say that when the electricity transformer on the power line explodes early in I jumped a mile. The build up was quite ordinary (if that makes sense) so it was really out of the blue. The alien passing the window behind net curtains while everyone sits down to dinner was distinctly chilling if you managed to catch sight of it and the first time I saw this movie it had me wondering if there was something behind my curtains as it was about 3am and my tired mind was very ready to play tricks on me.
Unfortunately there’s not much else here. There is a lot of character conflict in the movie and it is implied that the aliens have something to do with that (although the eldest brother was already a bit annoyed that his sister is dating a black guy and didn’t tell them). The little girl also seems to have a telepathic link to the aliens and tries to convince her family they don’t want to hurt them and when she is ignored she starts to go to lengths to help the aliens. I found this aspect of the story unconvincing and annoying rather than scary.
As a film then this is really a mixed bag. It has one or two memorable scares or unnerving moments but the rest of the time you are either watching a family argue and shout or supposedly former abductees/experts telling their story. I would only recommend this to people who do have a certain soft spot for found footage movies like myself.