Alien Abduction: Found-footage shocker is best left lost

The “found-footage” sub-genre of horror films has worn as thin as “torture porn,” and if any further evidence need be required, Alien Abduction is Exhibit A. (Perhaps Exhibit F would be more appropriate.)

There’s something of a local angle to these dire proceedings, as the film uses the “Brown Mountain Lights” phenomena of North Carolina as its gimmick. According to this film, billed as “leaked footage from the Air Force,” some 27 people mysteriously vanished one October after sightings of the Lights.

As expected, there’s the usual commentary by “residents” and “experts” regarding the Brown Mountain Lights, the obligatory shaky camerawork, and the typically overwrought performances. Producer Matty Beckerman, making his feature directorial debut, is also credited with the film’s “original” concept – although there’s very little original about what transpires here, or how it’s presented.

An unwary family on a camping trip encounters unearthly phenomena after getting lost in the woods. Flocks of dead birds fall from the sky (not terribly original), there are weird sounds, and glimpses of extra-terrestrial visitors. All of this is dutifully captured on his video camera by young Riley Morris (Riley Polanski), an autistic lad who clearly would have been better off staying home. The same goes for his family. And, indeed, the same goes for the audience.

Alien Abduction does boast Lawrence Bender as one of its producers, he best known for producing most of Quentin Tarantino’s films, yet that cache is hardly enough to warrant more than minute interest – more or less to wonder why he’d bother. Whether it’s the Blair Witch or paranormal activity, we’ve been down this road – and in these woods – enough times already.

Alien Abduction is scheduled to open Friday at Carousel Grande, Greensboro. !

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