MOVIE REVIEW: Oren Peli’s Area 51

So its been 6 years since Oren Peli made Area 51 and honestly I lost interest. Oren had me with Paranormal Activity. Sure, it’s now become a dead horse Peli and Jason Blum can’t seem to stop beating like it owes them money, but that first one had me, with all it’s stationary scares and Katie’s tank top glory (seriously, she has to have major back problems carry around those!). And not long after Paranormal’s successful run, Peli announced his follow-up: Area 51. A found footage flick that takes place in the infamous and every conspiracy theorist favorite VaCa spot, I was surprised it hadn’t been done before. Peli was on track for another horror classic and then…nothing. It seemed we would never see Oren Peli’s follow up and would have to suffer through the countless sequels to PA.  And then in April word came out that Area 51 would finally see the light of day in May courtesy of VOD release. Could it be that Area 51 was so intense and frightening that Blum and Peli just didn’t feel comfortable letting people see it? Wishful thinking. I only wish my interest stayed lost, at least then I would still have those 91 minutes and the $6.99.

Three friends ( I honestly don’t remember their names and it really doesn’t matter) decided to break into
Area 51 and video tape the entire process, because when breaking multiple federal laws not only do you want proof that you did it, but a step by step account of how you pulled it off can never hurt… FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a lawyer and in fact get all my legal advice from the guy behind the counter at White Castle (Shout Out to Carlos! Keep them sliders coming!). There’s a subplot about one of the three friends being abducted at a party, but it’s never really shown and only implied and that’s it. Seriously, that’s the entire plot. Nothing else. 6 goddamn years for that…

Out of all my many complaints for this movie (which there are plenty!) the one that I will start with is the fact that the main characters don’t arrive to Area 51 until almost the 50 minute mark. A movie titles Area 51 spends a majority of the movie NOT IN AREA 51! This is insanity to me. It’s the same as having a movie called Taxi Driver and the guy spends 60% of the running time running a Starbucks. Not only does it not take place in Area 51, there is absolutely zero aliens or UFOs or ANYTHING F#CKING INTERESTING HAPPENING!!!  It’s three grown men talking about breaking into the place and then they go to a strip club (OK, that part had my interest..). You’d think there would be more to it, but nope. They just talk. But once I saw the minimal security that Area 51 had in place for the top secret, government facility (which is a handful of guards and super loud fire alarm) I realized 3 friends talking about breaking into it was about all the prep work you would need. I believe we all know the real reason for this lack of manpower… Obamacare…

I have zero good things to say about this movie. I guess the acting is decent and what little special effects are in the movie are OK, but really that is it. The plot drags like a dead horse being pulled by a two legged mule. I fell asleep three times watching this and sadly that was the most exciting thing that happened. When they finally do break in you would think the prime focus would be to capture an alien on camera. Well you are sadly mistaken. Whenever one of the three are in a close range to one they turn right before the little green men enter the frame, because, well, who needs actual proof. Outside of glimpses when never see an actual alien. Great fucking alien movie.

I always wondered why after the tremendous success of Paranormal Activity, Oren Peli didn’t make another movie… And now I know why. I don’t want to be quick to call him a one hit wonder, but after 6 years and this is all he has to show, it’s kind of hard to think anything else. Who knows maybe he’ll make a Loch Ness Monster flick and actually show us the the monster…Maybe…

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