Directed by Daniel Simpson
I’d like to propose those “Life Alert” thingies be affixed to each and every godforsaken camper, fortune-seeker or miscreant that wanders in the woods from here on out. In trouble? Hit the damn button and scream, “I’m lost, and I can’t get out!” Either that, or strap a super-sized GPS tracking device on his or her ass area so that they can be located regardless of whatever their perilous situation may be.
Now that I’ve gotten that little psychotic-rant out of the way, let’s proceed with the LATEST found footage alien invasion film to litter the genre superstore: Daniel Simpson’s Hangar 10.
If I sound jaded and markedly desensitized to these shaky-cam nightmares that are popping out faster than kids in the Duggar household, then please accept my most humble apology (not really), but the blueprint for one of these movies is as easy to construct as a Lego mansion… Wait! I had legitimate problems with those when I was a little turd. Okay, never mind all that – here’s the deal: Strike up a routine backstory filled with fright, preferably around an abandoned loony bin, haunted forest, or even a military base that covered up an alien invasion – GOT IT! Next, you need a group (preferably 3, but not more than 4) of hard-heads that have pseudo-glue sticking their GoPros in their mitts, unwilling to release them even after a grisly death or the disappearance of one of the group’s participants, all the while searching for facts about the area’s history or where a treasure is or maybe even if they’re just nosy dimwits who couldn’t get out of their own way, with the sum total of intelligence enough to screw up a one-car-funeral.
Man, I’m laying waste to this, and I haven’t even gotten into the specifics yet so here we go: 33 Years ago in the Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England, there was a series of reported UFO sightings (and possibly even a landing) over the course of 2-3 days. The U.S. Air Force was allegedly witness to many of these sightings, and ever since the area has been referred to as “Britain’s Roswell.” (True story; look it up.)
Flashing to the present, we follow the exploits of three metal detector aficionados who plan out a scouted excursion to look for Saxon gold in the nearby wooded areas… best of luck to ya. Gus (Robert Curtis) is the group’s unofficial leader with friends Sally (Abbie Salt) and Jake (Danny Shayler) in tow, ready to capture whatever remnants of wealth that can be scraped from the forested locale.
Does everyone have their motion-sickness pills on them, ready to be dispensed at a moment’s notice? Good – shove them in your oral crannies NOW. However, I must offer the following disclaimer: Keeping your eyes fixed upon the multitude of angles and deviations in the camera work might be your best bet at keeping conscious for the first 45 minutes or so – we’re talking boredom, people – in heavy dosages. What makes the downtime dialogue so frustrating is that quite a bit of it is masked by the crunching of the leaves and sticks beneath the feet of our trodding trio. I’m not sure if it was designed this way, but in any event, it makes a thick accent a little tougher to decipher. It is then not too long before the triumvirate begin to experience the customary spooky sounds in the night, followed by a sprinkling of night-vision whip shots of “There goes something really fast into the woods.” Hellacious siren-like intonations fill up the area during both day and night hours with blinding lights illuminating the sky and timberland.
Normal thinking would entail the warning of “Move along, youngins; there’s trouble up ahead,” but not here, no way. This assemblage finds it best to keep on keepin on, despite all signs to turn away from certain danger. Again, we have the need in this digital age to capture every single bit of rotten footage possible, perhaps in the hopes of some notoriety from said footage. The sirens get louder, the lights get brighter, and the skies turn into the most evil shade of gray that you’ve ever seen (one of the movie’s few strong points is the ground-to-air-visuals). The band of pals are so deep in the woods now that they are unmistakably lost and fraying at the edges mentally.
Once the identity of what’s responsible for the frightening occurrences is revealed (sort of), hopefully you’re all awakened from your naps and ready to settle in for the lackluster final act that walks the path of a scared couple searching frantically for their missing compadre. Through hatches and darkened tunnels they traverse, screaming every step of the way, while trying to not be detected by what pursues them (logical thinking, indeed).
As the credits rolled and I picked the last few grains of Mr. Sandman’s deposits from the corners of my eyes, I looked back at a movie that had it all – creepy atmosphere, mindless actions resulting in shocking discoveries, and an altruistic offering of gut-churning camera usage. While these seemed new and pleasant, akin to that new car smell, I remembered the vast lineup of lemons that came before this model, sans the new car aroma, but instead with a rancid splattering of kiddie-puke emanating from the back seat. What I’m trying to get at is: We’ve all been behind the wheel of this ride, and it’s slow and accident-prone. Without a decent look out the window (the visuals of the UFO-infested skies), the rating here on this 2014 clunker would be MUCH worse. In closing, skip the trip and take a long walk to your next destination.