Directed by: Daniele Grieco
Cast: Laura Berlin, Fabio Cimpeanu, Nika Cimpeanu
Billed as Germany’s answer to The Blair Witch Project, I went into UFO: It is Here with some lofty expectations and a Glad bag full of hope. Unfortunately I should have packed lighter. A lot lighter.
The story is standard fare: a small documentary crew working at the zoo see something falling from the skies. The animals at the zoo go ape shit (pardon the pun) and before we know it this group that was content to piece together a documentary about a local zoo is trekking off into rural territory to try and track the mysterious falling object. When they do find the crash site, they run into some chilling visuals, as whatever it was that hit earth, tore some vehicles and land apart like a flimsy cardboard box. It doesn’t look good, but as this group is about to find out, things get worse… when they run into something alive and not so warm and welcoming.
I just can’t stress how much I wanted to get into this film. I’m always hoping for a remarkable found footage film, but when I run into pictures like this, a piece of that hope dies inside.
The whole Blair Witch comparison, that doesn’t stretch any further than the astoundingly shaky camera work. In fact, if you thought The Blair Witch Project gave you a headache, prepare for a full blown migraine from UFO: It Is Here, because this movie makes TBWP look like a smooth visual trek through rural scenery. The shaky effect in this instance is used so often and so heavily that it becomes evident that it’s being utilized as a tool to mask the special effects.
And as a tool with that design, it works, because we never once get a very clear look at the creatures, or lifeform of the film. It’s constantly disguised by a camera that looks as though it’s just being shaken furiously for shits and giggles.
It made the picture impossible to get into. You can’t invest much in what you can’t see. This is film after all, not religion.
There were a few solid performances, and I think the general idea could have panned out wonderfully, but the camera work is just way, way too much (as my wife put it, “this is the shakiest movie I’ve ever seen,” moments before rolling over and promptly falling fast asleep). I’m quite inclined to agree, it’s the shakiest film I’ve seen in years – maybe ever – and I felt like I wasn’t even watching a movie by the midway point – it just felt as though I was the subject of a cruel experiment: How much brain rattling can one human handle?
Sadly I don’t really have much else to say for the film, other than a recommendation that director Daniele Grieco steer as far from found footage as possible. This is a dreadfully difficult form of film to successfully craft, and Grieco seems far out of her element with this one.