The Rendlesham UFO Incident Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Altitude Film Distribution
Directed by Daniel Simpson
Written by Adam Preston and Daniel Simpson
2014, 83 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 9th February 2015
Robert Curtis as Gus
Abbie Salt as Sally
Danny Shayler as Jake
This film comes closer to capturing the look and feel of The Blair Witch Project than anything I've seen since 1999. By that, I mean that the characters spend most of their time wandering about in the woods, either snivelling or bickering while supernatural (or in this case, extraterrestrial) forces conspire to end them. Scrounging for scrap at famous UFO hotspot Rendlesham Forest, two metal detector enthusiasts and their cameraman friend happen across more than they bargained for when they're caught in the midst of an actual alien invasion... probably.
On paper, The Rendlesham UFO Incident looks like every other no-budget straight to DVD found footage film clogging up the shelves of HMV today. Based on (allegedly) true events, a cast of nobodies head into the woods to film themselves doing things they probably shouldn't. Terrible, inexplicable things happen – mostly during the last ten minutes. Separating this from the rest of the chaff, however, is the film's genuinely impressive setting and the quality of those last ten minutes.
Rendlesham Forest gives the movie a wonderfully creepy location and visuals that make the unoriginal story and occasionally irritating characters seem worth it. If I'm going to watch a found footage movie, I'd rather it show me somewhere I couldn't just catch a bus or train to myself (like the moon, Amazon or dinosaur island) but at least this forest looks genuinely scary and foreboding, unlike most found footage locales. With its magnificently enormous, Gothic-looking trees and naturally spooky landscapes, the forest is almost a character in itself – and it's the least annoying character, at that. Even better, when the film moves out of the woods to its abandoned military base, it still retains that sense of spook and atmosphere, managing to light its dark basements and industrial buildings surprisingly well. The film's cinematography is its strongest suit, looking downright Lovecraftian in places with its use of mist, light shows and sparing CGI. Its money shot – one of the characters pointing his metal detector at the sky – is a great bit of imagery, shorn from the movie this could have been.
With that in mind, it's a shame that there's such a massive slog between all of the undeniably good stuff. It could have done with being at least half an hour shorter, faster paced and better written. The Rendlesham UFO Incident is one of the better low-budget horror films we've had in years – so it's disappointing that it buries so much of what makes it special under layers of cliché and padding. That's a shame, since it had the potential to be out of this world. As it is, it's depressingly terrestrial at times.