Starring: Reid Warner, Darrin Bragg, Ben Rovner, Jelena Nik, Glenn Campbell
Director: Oren Peli
2015 | 91 Minutes | Rated R
“Area 51, man. It’s the 51st state.” – local interviewee
Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli’s Area 51 has been in production for a long time. It’s one of those movies that seemed like it might never see release (here’s looking at you Scott Adkins’ Re-Kill). Well, Area 51 has now hit select theaters and on demand services and it’s kind of clear why it took so long to get there.
After a strange occurrence at a party, friends Reid, Darrin and Ben plan to infiltrate the infamous Area 51.
Area 51 follows a pretty standard found footage formula, meaning the first 2/3 of the movie is pretty boring and uneventful, spending a lot of time on story and character development, yet not really developing either. Things pick up in the final act and then the movie ends… sometimes well… more often poorly.
Since most movies in this genre rely heavily on a shocking twist ending, I think it’s fair to judge them based almost solely on the quality of that “surprise” ending. Area 51’s is just OK. It’s kind of what you would have guessed from the very beginning. It would have been nice to be at least a little more original.
The acting and dialogue are fine. It feels real enough. There were only a select couple times where I found myself shaking my head at the screen, namely the times where the group is talking way too loud for people sneaking around a top secret government facility.
The standard found footage shaky-cam is here but it’s never so bad so as to cause nausea.
The necessary scares are also present but obviously don’t come into play until the last 20-30 minutes or so. And, as with everything else, they are exactly the scares you would expect, when you would expect to see them.
Area 51 is a capable found-footage-alien-horror movie but not much more. It’s sort of paint by numbers writing and direction, leaving one with the question of why to see it if they’ve seen it all before.