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Found Footage Films - Area 51 ( 2015 )

Area 51 ( 2015 ) – Undeniable UFO Footage

So at last it’s finally arrived – Oren Peli’s undeniable UFO footage delivered to the world in an 80 minute package!
Most of you will already know that Oren Peli was the director of the groundbreaking Found Footage flick Paranormal Activity.
Did he manage to put himself on the map once again with this new offering to the genre?
Well he came pretty close but I couldn’t help thinking he may have taken the safer route throughout this film.

I was expecting something as impressive as the recent Exists but this just managed to fall a little short. It was one of those plots that you could play out in your head in advance.
It seemed way to ‘safe’ to me – there were no real surprises in it and I didn’t once experience any sort of shock factor. It was good – don’t get me wrong…but it wasn’t great!

The Plot
The film follows a group of friends who are led by UFO fanatic Reid ( Reid Warner ). In the early stages of the film Reid goes missing during a party in a nearby forest. Once found, he claims to have completely lost time and have no idea where he has been.
So Reid sets about leading his two best mates Darrin ( Darrin Bragg ) and Ethan ( Ben Rovner ) into the most secretive military base in the country…Area 51.
He is positive that his lost time is down to alien abduction and he feels he is being drawn to this famous UFO haven.
They do a bit of ‘business’ on the web and kit themselves out with the necessary equipment ( thermal goggles, hazmat suits and electronic signal-jammers…you get the drift! ) and head towards Las Vegas.
They decide to take a couple of camcorders with them in case they bump into any sort of extraterrestrial evidence ( naturally! ).

The Undeniable UFO Footage
Paranormal Activity gave the Found Footage community new and interesting gimmicks which allowed it to stand out from the crowd. I felt that Oren Peli made the mistake of stepping too far away from these gimmicks with this film.
I enjoyed it from start to finish but I felt like I had seen it all before. It seemed to stick to traditional Found Footage values when it really didn’t need to.
A few months back I reviewed a British film named Hangar 10 which seems to have taken the shine off Peli’s later offering.
They were very different films but at the same time they were very similar
( if you know what I mean ). I got the impression that Peli decided not to watch Hangar 10 or simply ignored it…
I feel this was probably a mistake.

Production for the film began in the fall of 2009. In April 2011, CBS Films hired director and actor Chris Denham to do some rewrites on Area 51. Peli filmed re-shoots in 2013. In August 2013,
Jason Blum stated that the film had finished production and that Peli was "tinkering" with the film in post production. On March 14, 2015, 
Blum confirmed that the film was officially done and would perhaps be released on VOD. On April 6, 2015, it was reported that Blum had responded to a Twitter user who asked if he had any news on Area 51 by stating, "very very very soon. -JB".
 Finally, on April 23, 2015 it was announced the film would open exclusively in Alamo Drafthouse theaters and through video on demand platforms on May 15, 2015.

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