aka UFO: It Is Here
The obligatory troupe (gaggle? murder?) of film school students are shooting
documentary footage at a zoo when they witness what looks like a meteorite
crashing down in some woods at least several kilometres away. After some
bickering, they decide to change their documentary project and go meteorite
hunting. Soon, they are in the deep dark woods (well, as deep and dark as woods
get that look to be rather close to a decent road).
What they find doesn’t look much like a meteorite and rather more
like some kind of wreckage – but the wreckage of what? Because these people have
very bad survival instincts, and it’s rather late in the day now, our
protagonists decide to spend the night in the woods and poke around in the
wreckage in the morning.
When our heroes awaken, they realize that one of their number has
disappeared, leaving behind a camera that suggests he has been attacked by
something. Indeed, they’ll find his mutilated corpse in a tree after a
while. Somehow, they also manage to get completely lost in the process – their
cellphones naturally don’t work anymore – and soon make the acquaintance of the
creature that killed their friend – and more of its ilk.
At one point early on in Daniele Grieco’s (second, following Die Präsenz ) German POV horror film, I was tempted
to turn it off again right quick, expecting the ten minutes or so of bickering
guys and gals meandering through the woods in the worst sub-Blair Witch
Project style to mean the rest of the film would continue as exactly the
sort of bad copy of betters things these scenes suggest. Fortunately, I
persisted, for while UFO certainly isn’t terribly original, it quickly
stops borrowing its ideas exclusively from that often so badly copied film, and
actually comes around to a handful of pretty effective moments of suspense, even
taking us into seldom POV-explored terrain like a cave and a farmstead in the
process. Which is a lot more than I can say for many a film riding these
particular coat tails.
The aliens we get to see are pretty effective designs too, with lots of slimy
appendages, icky eggs and unhygienic habits. Again, this sort of thing is
obviously not original per se in horror, but not overused in POV horror. More
importantly, Grieco does manage to sell slime, glowing eggs, worm things and
shadowy movements as actual threats to his protagonists, as well as somewhat
creepy to the jaded viewer.
On the negative side, there’s clunky dialogue, a bit too much shaky cam when
it’s not really necessary, and characters without traits, but I still did end up
having more fun with UFO than I expected. There’s certainly enough of
value and fun in here to make for a satisfying eighty minutes of film.