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Film / Alien Abduction (2014)

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When you go camping, there are certain things you know to watch out for, like storms, wildfires, and hungry wildlife. The Morris family is about to add two more items to that list: strange lights in the sky, and aliens.

Alien Abduction (also known as The Morris Family Abduction) is a 2014 found footage film about a family camping trip that takes a horrifying turn when alien visitors show up looking for specimens to study, as seen through the eyes (and ubiquitous camcorder) of the 11-year-old Riley, who is autistic. It stars Katherine Sigismund, Corey Eid, Riley Polanski, and Jillian Clare.

Not to be confused with Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County

This movie contains the following tropes:

  • Aliens Are Bastards: Considering the primary trope of the film, the aliens naturally fall into this category.
  • Alien Abduction: Brown Mountain has apparently been the site of a large number of these over the years, and such disappearances are heavily ingrained in the local folklore as far back as the Native Americans.
  • Book Ends: The movie opens and closes with a near-identical tracking shot from the point of view of a camcorder being carried through an alien ship and chucked down a trash chute. The closing scene, however, continues with the military recovering the camcorder and taking it as evidence.
  • Camera Abuse: Riley's camera is ultimately tossed down the garbage chute of an alien ship and dropped from low-Earth orbit, smashing the lens on impact.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: While the Morrises first attribute their lack of signal to being far from civilization, later trouble with their GPS suggests a more sinister cause.
  • Creative Closing Credits: These come in the form of various partially-redacted government documents, photographs, and newspaper clippings.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We already know within the first few minutes that Riley's camera will be tossed out of an alien ship.
  • Hollywood Autism: Riley is identified as autistic, and has a number of quirks like reciting his observations in a monotone and preferring to view the world through his camcorder. Sean calls him "slow" and compares him to a "retard" kid he knows, but Jillian corrects him.
  • Hope Spot: When Riley and Jillian are picked up by a patrolman in the morning, who is radioing for EMTs when the aliens show up one last time.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: It starts off as a more mundane example when the GPS starts acting up, getting them lost and low on gas, before going completely off the rails.
  • Inspired by…: The Brown Mountain Lights are based on a real phenomenon in North Carolina, and associated with mysterious abductions.
  • Light Is Not Good: In this case, the light usually indicates that aliens are near.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The empty cars strewn up the road, with their owners' belongings strewn all around. As a matter of fact, the aliens are hardly shown at all, with the filmmakers getting a lot of mileage out of ominous floodlights and scary noises.
    • The "There all along" variant is used towards the end of the film.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: The presence of the aliens causes the picture in Riley's camera to flicker. Sean even recognizes it as a danger sign, and advises Riley to hide if he sees it. This becomes particularly relevant when the camera starts glitching while the highway patrolman is calling for help.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Director Matty Beckerman is a fan of Alfred Hitchcock and included a tribute to him in the form of a scene where hundreds of crows rain down from the sky.
    • Deliverance is mentioned.
  • Sound-Only Death: While it might not be death specifically, several characters exit the story with just a scream, with the cause left unseen.
  • The Stinger: A mid-credits scene taking place a year later shows the North Carolina highway patrol rescuing a disoriented Peter from the side of the road.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: It's unclear whether the aliens are pursuing the Morrises specifically, or if they're just in a large area the aliens are hunting in general.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: The GPS device that Peter was relying on to get them to the next campsite starts acting up, leading the whole family deep into the sticks.