The Blair Witch Project inspired independent filmmakers and the found footage genre – the resourceful film perfectly executed psychological horror. Blair Witch, the semi-sequel-reboot released this year, delved into the franchise’s psychological lore, but also fancied being somewhat of a creature feature with broader scares.
The independently-made survival horror UFO: It Is Here shares more in common with 2016’s Blair Witch, but German filmmaker Daniele Grieco doesn’t want to attempt to top the paranoia-induced head games in The Blair Witch Project. Therefore, instead of offering copycat psychological horror, Grieco commits to making a straightforward monster movie using found-footage aesthetics. Grieco doesn’t give minor hints of grisly detail for the viewer’s imagination to put together; he goes “all in” and shows as much carnage aftermath as he can within the bounds of his film’s natural effect. UFO: It Is Here has been made by determined people who realize the annoyances of inconsistencies in genre projects. This is why UFO: It Is Here is able to stand on its own as an intelligent, nerve-racking found-footage adventure.
UFO: It Is Here, however, isn’t completely in the clear. It’s guilty of needlessly copying The Blair Witch Project in terms of premise and characters, while also occasionally ripping off key memorable moments. The plot: a group of film students lose their way in the woods in search of something supernatural. By camping out in the never-ending thick of the forest, they get picked off one-by-one during the night. The survivors find nasty evidence the next morning (including scraped teeth), and they even find themselves in an abandoned house during the final act. With the production already doing a great job separating itself from other movies, it’s a shame to see these unoriginal nods label Grieco’s film as something it’s not.
Regardless of its obvious visual nods, UFO: It Is Here is a must-see for found footage fans.
UFO: It Is Here is now available to rent/purchase on Vimeo On Demand
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie