Saturday, 6 August 2011

Alien Abduction: Incident In Lake County (1998)

A TV movie that purports to show home-video footage of strange events and the alien abduction of the McPherson family, this little film gets a lot of things just right but ultimately falls down due to a lack of believability on a number of levels (the acting, the actions of the characters, the aliens themselves).

It’s a family Thanksgiving dinner in the McPherson household, complete with all of the usual bickering and familial tensions. Young Tommy (Kristian Ayre) isn’t really helping the mood as he documents everything on his video camera. He keeps recording when he accompanies two family members to investigate a power cut and it’s the stuff of nightmares when they spot what they think may be an alien lifeform and run back to the house. But the aliens are now interested in the McPherson household, having been spotted by the humans.

A blend of The Blair Witch Project and Signs is the best description of this film and if you disliked either of those movies then you’re probably not going to enjoy this one. It’s got the shaky cam, it’s got the people trying to keep their home safe from alien invasion, it’s got a family dynamic already fraught with tension but ultimately strong.

Director Dean Alioto (who also wrote the story leading to the screenplay by Paul Chitlik) did well to get in there before other mockumentaries grabbed all of the limelight. From what I can gather, when this was first aired it scared the living daylights out of some people. Debate still rages on internet forums about the authenticity of the thing, despite an extensive cast list that even includes the people playing the aliens.

The actors are all okay but never really 100% convincing so I won’t single anyone out for praise or criticism.
If you can suspend your disbelief for 90 minutes or so then there is still plenty to enjoy here and a couple of big scares that will have you on edge. There’s also a nice, rather low-key but spooky, ending that’s pretty much revealed from the very beginning of the film but still manages to leave things on a decidedly eerie note. 


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