For an early specimen of the found footage sub-genre, “Alien Abduction” is surprisingly solid. It’s cheaply made, confined to one setting, and the acting is dodgy, but its execution is creepy and many moments reflect what would become common imagery in future found footage movies like “Blair Witch” and “Cloverfield.” Back before the internet, viral videos trickled in to underground collectors’ circles and even networks that sought out to convince audiences of their realism. “Alien Abduction” is a film desperately trying to convince audiences it’s a real document, and back in 1998, you’d believe it was a groundbreaking chronicle of a family facing aliens.
In reality, “Alien Abduction” is a found footage film that takes from the infamous Hopkinsville Goblins Case, except in a contemporary setting. If you have any doubt the movie is fake, one of the family members in the small cast is played Emmanuelle Chriqui, who’d go on to considerable success as an actress in the early aughts. Regardless, “Alien Abduction” is a fine found footage film set on a family gathering during thanksgiving. They’re gathered to eat when their fuse box blows, prompting the men of the house to go inspect it. When they find it’s been melted, they witness strange lights in the woods. Assuming it’s lightning or a transformer explosion, they interrupt a procedure ensuing with alien visitors and stray cattle.
The aliens catch them watching, and soon enough the family must figure out how to evade the alien menaces that aren’t too keen to leaving witnesses behind. Most of the film takes place within the confines of the house, as the aliens infiltrate every corner and turn the family on one another. One of the more unsettling moments involves camera man Tommy retreating to his bed room to change his pants and coming face to face with an alien that freezes him before he can react. The camera settles on the monster as it grasps the camera and flees without Tommy being any the wiser. Granted, there are some flaws that bog down the movie, including Tommy setting the camera down at the right angles so we don’t miss any of the action. And actress Katlyn Ducharme as Rosie is absolutely terrible and distracting in her stilted dialogue delivery.
In either case, “Alien Abduction” is an admirable and spooky film set during a time where you didn’t have to reveal your found footage movie was fiction. The film goes so far as claiming the characters in the movie are still missing, and there’s even a hotline to call before the credits. I fondly recall watching this movie in 1998 on the UPN network in America and believed it all was genuine footage going out to the masses. Either that or I wanted to believe it was all genuine footage. I still am a believer, but not in “Alien Abduction.” It is, however, a creepy and creative horror outing with above average special effects, considering the obvious low budget and how difficult it was to make a movie in 1998. If you ever pass it, check it out and enjoy the ride.