Unidentified Movie Review
Directed by Jason Richard Miller
Written by Jason Richard Miller, Eddie Mui, Parry Shen
2013, 88 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 28th October 2013
Parry Shen as Jeremy
Coltun Dunn as Dave
Eddie Mui as Nick
Eric Artell as Jodie
The found footage genre strikes again with Unidentified, a low budget thriller that takes its hand-held stylings into a relatively unexplored realm. Helmed by newcomer Jason Richard Miller, his debut movie aims for the stars but takes its sweet time getting where it wants to go. For some reason, the rather alluring prospect of combining a camcorder captured film with an alien abduction experience hasn’t been attempted much on the big screen. We’ve seen what happens when amateur filmmakers encounter city destroying monsters, demonic possession and of course backwoods witches but other than Jason Eisner’s eerie closing segment for V/H/S 2, we haven’t seen E.T’s nasty siblings infiltrate this now overly familiar filmmaking style. Unidentified hopes to rectify this problem.
This time around, our gang of incessant filmmakers are led by a comic book dweeb and budding (read: cringy) Youtube vlogger named Jodie (Eric Artell). After a few failed video blog attempts he’s asked to accompany his boss Nick (Eddie Mui) on an impromptu trip to Vegas by Nick’s worried wife who’s concerned her hubby may have a bit of a gambling problem. Not long into the trip they’re joined by Jeremy (Parry Shen) and Dave (Colton Dunn), who quickly make it clear that this is indeed a high stakes trip. The gamble-mad Nick has scraped together $10,000 to wager during a poker game that he’s been led to believe will be a walk in the park. However on arrival, the game (pitting our sweaty-palmed gambler against a hard hitting kingpin with Down's Syndrome (yes, Down's Syndrome), doesn’t quite go to plan.
Skint and indebted to some of Vegas’s toughest nuts (to put it mildly), the quartet quit their sightseeing and hightail it back home. However it’s not long before some unusual lightning stops them in their tracks deep in the Nevada desert. Wasting no time at all, the inquisitive Jodie takes his camera on an exploring mission that’s met with dark results when the lights in the sky separate him from his group. When he’s finally found - comatosed and sporting a otherworldly growth on his back - things quickly go from bad to worse as the not-of-this-earth culprits make themselves known.
When Unidentified finally gets into its stride it offers a few tantalizing sequences but unfortunately nothing that’ll blow your hair back. One of its biggest stumbling blocks is the time it takes to get into the meat of the story - a problem that may have been caused by its lack of budget. The effects on show here aren’t amazing which may explain why the extra-terrestrial portion of the film is crammed into its final quarter. Perhaps its biggest problem however is that it all feels a little too made-for-telly. If you’re looking for hand-held alien stories, V/H/S 2’s Alien Abduction Slumber Party remains the champion.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.