Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.
Oren Peli is the man, yes oh yes, I was a fan, until he made Area 51, and now Oren Peli I am DONE.
Who doesn’t like a little cheer now and then? Anyways, when Paranormal Activity first came out, it wasn’t too long after that when news came around that Oren Peli would be following up with another found-footage film shooting after another paranormal creature – aliens. That it would focus on a bunch of kids trying to break into the legendary Area 51. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I loved PA, even if the rest of the films in the franchise sucked – I was still a fan of the guy that made it happen to begin with, the vision of Oren Peli. So while the rest of the movies in the Paranormal Activity franchise were released, each one getting worse than the last, I retained hope that this movie would bring it back…did it? NO. Area 51 is a big pile of poo.
What makes it so bad, you ask? Well let’s first focus on the story – which as I mentioned above – focuses on a few teens as they make a plan to break into the highest held secret in the country…maybe even world – Area 51. They even had a plan – they were going to steal a pass key, and figure out how to bypass through all the detectors in the desert that catches them red handed. They just want to know the truth, ya know? But wouldn’t you know it – they get in too deep.
I love the stories surrounding Area 51. As far as conspiracy theories go, the stuff surrounding Roswell, UFOS, and A51 are stories I’ve never found dull or repetitive…but something very elaborate with enough info to keep you keened in on everything. That question what if is something that has filled me with wonder. One thing I’ve never experienced when it came to aliens, though, is fear. Oren Peli likes to make horror films, and there’s simply nothing scary about this film, what happens in it, or even anything to do with the concept – yet he feels the obligation to make it scary – and he fails at every turn. Here I am trying desperately to be interested in the film, and it keeps trying to make things creepy. Well stop it, and just make it fun.
Why isn’t it scary? Well take it this way – people are naturally scared of ghosts. Even if you don’t believe in one, if one suddenly showed up in your house you’d be scarred for life and probably would have soiled yourself at some point. That stuff can haunt your waking life, but aliens are just fascinating. That’s all they’ve ever been – the scariest I’ve ever seen aliens was in Signs, and while I admit the film was fantastic and creepy – that also had to do with the director’s vision and the actors’ ability to look genuinely frightened. In fact, Signs did something this film should have done – make you think. Signs focused on the idea that it might be aliens and made your mind swim – while Area 51 just said its aliens right off the back. When you do that, you have a high demand to actually see stuff. I mean it’s Area 51, you can’t just stand outside the gate and be happy with that for a movie – they had to go inside – and because they had to go inside, you have to be able see everything…and it doesn’t allow your brain to work for itself
So anyways, I did want to mention some of the scenery in the beginning was great – the one and only thing you actually believe about this movie is that these guys are actually on location at the right place. They covered some actual theories and stories which is great – but since this isn’t a documentary, none of that…and I mean none of that actually mattered in the slightest.
The best part of Area 51 was the concept – plain and simple. They covered a lot of bases as far as conspiracy theories and legends surrounding the base – and you believe they are actually in the right desert on the right road.
Everything else, unfortunately. Once they get in, you can’t really believe it’s Area 51. It looks like a game of DOOM or QUAKE with far too many giveaway shots. It doesn’t let your brain think for itself, and it tries way too hard to be a horror movie.