Area 51 Movie Review
Written by Steven Wood
Released by Paramount
Directed By Oren Peli
Written By Christopher Denham and Oren Peli
2015, 91 minutes, Not Rated
Released theatrically and on VOD on May 15th, 2015
Reid Warner as Reid
Darrin Bragg as Darin
Jelena Nik as Jelena
A group of conspiracy nuts decide to tackle the Holy Grail of conspiracies - Area 51. That's it, that's the plot.
Found footage has always been near and dear to my heart, dating all the way back to seeing The Blair Witch Project in theaters and believing it was in some way real. We've all dealt with the over-saturated sub-genre of horror as of late, but I'm always there when a new found footage movie comes out. I try to be optimistic, but mostly I'm disappointed; there are gems here and there, but Area 51 is not one of them.
Oren Peli is best known for directing and producing the Paranormal Activity movies, which I like to an extent. But with Area 51, he seems to have gotten a bit lazy in terms of writing. His writing partner for this, Christopher Denham, is just as guilty, but I don't blame him too much since he doesn't have many writing credits. There is no excuse for Oren; the amount of plot holes and nonsensical character choices is downright embarrassing. I could sit here and pick apart Area 51, but instead I'll bring up a couple of problems and hope you will stay away.
First of all, the motives for Reid being "drawn towards" the base are never explained. The slightest bit of motivation we see is during a house party the guys are attending, where Reid vanishes from doing karaoke during a five-second blackout. He appears a few moments later in the backyard idling staring up at the sky, only to go missing again. The search for Reid abruptly ends when he's found standing in the middle of the street, almost being hit by the car his friends were driving. Was he abducted? Did he see something that rendered him speechless? There is literally NOTHING that explains what happened.
The fun/stupidity starts when they get on the base, and what they do once inside. You would assume that given where they are, and the lengths in which the military goes to protect the base, they'd at least have CCTV, right? Well apparently not. The time they spend running around, being loud, and entering through doors using someone else's credentials should have been enough to initiate multiple red flags. The only time security is actually alerted is when a fingerprint scanner fails and sirens begin to blare. You could argue that security left them alone because no alarms, but how do you explain people running through the facility in civilian clothes and carrying a camera? You can't and neither can Peli and Denham.
This leads me to the ending, which is almost EXACTLY the same as that of the 2014 movie Alien Abduction. If you've seen both, you'll know what I'm talking about, and if not, basically there is a scene where a handheld camera is spat out of a UFO just before entering space. It is fucking stupid, and should be avoided at all costs.