4.5 out of 10

REVIEW BELOW by Matt ‘Flying Saucer’ Usher

Release Date: 26th January 2015

Director: Daniel Simpson (Spiderhole)

Cast: Danny Shayler, Abbie Salt, Robert Curtis

Writer: Daniel Simpson, Adam Preston

Trailer: The Rendlesham UFO Incident

Cast are previously unknown.




  1. THE RENDLESHAM UFO INCIDENT – review by Matt ‘The Caught Naked with a Hot Dog Bun Incident’ Usher

    The Americans know how to make their country sound mysterious and mythic. I suppose it’s both the mix of languages and the sheer size of the place. As a result, something as innocuous sounding as the Roswell Incident sounds really intriguing. By contrast in Britain, the Rendlesham Incident sounds a bit bland, so bland that it was renamed the Rendlesham UFO Incident to make it sound more exciting. Even then, the Rendlesham UFO Incident isn’t exactly up there with Roswell, Tunguska and the Bermuda Triangle in the list of great UFO-related phenomena. This simple fact should have given the makers of the film THE RENDLESHAM UFO INCIDENT pause for thought. Maybe it did. The film (which I shall hereafter refer to simply as ‘the film’ for the sake of brevity) does not attempt to recreate or document the real-life 1980 Rendlesham UFO Incident. It has what I’m sure the film-makers thought was a much darker agenda.

    Our protagonists are led by Gus (full name Augustus Mills – this is the first sign that the film’s not going to be much cop). He’s a metal-detecting enthusiast. He and his girlfriend, whose name seems to fluctuate between Sammy and Sally, have decided to find and dig up a Saxon treasure horde. They bring Jake along, who may or may not be Sally/Sammy’s ex. Either way he fancies her and she and Gus both know it, so it absolutely makes sense that they all go off together into the middle of nowhere for the night with nothing more than a camera and a couple of metal-detectors (possibly borrowed from Danny Dyer’s character in BLOOD SHOT). But they need someone to hold the camera, otherwise there’d be no found footage (yes, it’s a found-footage film). Sally/Sammy also has a camera though for no reason I could make out. Then there’s a lot of palaver over whether they’re looking on land legally or illegally, then it turns out that the expedition that they’re planning to upload onto Youtube is going to be illegal which is why they’re going to do it at night.

    Night falls and off our trio trot in search of treasure in the middle of a vast wood, which turns out to be Ministry of Defence land. Weird things occur: bright lights, animals crying and baying, protagonists vanishing then turning up again. It’s fair to say they have a rubbish night. Next day they get even more lost, their car disappears, they have a long row about contacting the police and where they’re going to say they left the car, they find evidence that someone has been watching them, there are some more bright lights and fast moving things in the sky, then it rains and they get more lost and paranoid and end up in a seemingly abandoned military research centre which has the answer to the UFO mystery (i.e. the aliens have been hanging around Rendlesham for thirty-odd years and been getting up to all sorts of disagreeable experiments) but by then our heroes all seem to have succumbed to a virus which turns them into hedgehogs or something. And they don’t find the Saxon treasure. Or at least, that’s what I think happened. Because sometimes it was quite difficult to tell.

    Ever since a certain film that will be unnamed here made the found-footage film fashionable fifteen or so years back, film-makers with no cash have seized on the technique with abandon, and more often than not, a lack of originality which is truly frightening. This is no exception. Aside from being sci-fi rather than horror, there is nothing to distinguish this from all the others. Except perhaps for one thing: the camerawork.

    Never before has a film had such an unpleasantly visceral impact on me. It left me feeling queasy and with a headache. These feelings had nothing to do with the film’s imagery or subject matter, but were down to the film-makers’ decision to make the film as ‘authentic’ as possible. Which basically meant shaking the camera about constantly. It’s not a bad film necessarily: there’s an interesting idea, a passable plot, special effects are just about OK, and the acting and scripting (what there is of it, after all for most of the time the actors are off-screen yelling) is acceptable. But the filming… The film starts with a caption telling us this is footage found on a laptop that some doofus left lying around. It’s supposedly material from two cameras, though none of the characters ever had time to edit it together, so who did? (There’s no suggestion that that’s a question we’re meant to ask in a conspiracy-theory sort of way.) (And why are there cuts at points where characters would have kept filming?). But worse than that minor flaw in the film’s internal logic is the fact that no-one can hold the camera still. Jake is supposedly there to do all the filming but it’s like he’s playing maracas with the camera instead. And this is before all the weirs stuff starts. Sometimes our three actors get caught on camera, generally looking a bit anguished and surrounded by trees. To add an extra layer of challenging verisimilitude the audio is frequently on the blink, and the picture goes fuzzy, so we spend a lot of time looking at fuzzy trees. Why the director thought it would be a good idea to spend 83 minutes inducing motion sickness in his audience is something only he can answer. Perhaps this film really seems to want to be treated as actual found footage. It succeeds. This really does come across as footage which has been made by someone who has no idea what they’re doing. It’s a tedious suspense-less mess. (THE BORDERLANDS is the benchmark for how to integrate recording technology into the story). In this film we are constantly being reminded that someone is in the act of filming, or at least is running about with the camera switched on. The film-makers mistake chaotic camera angles and duff sound for gritty authenticity. But all you end up with is a bunch of characters who conspicuously fail to catch on camera anything worth catching on camera (including themselves), so most of the time you just see fuzzy trees (which would be fine in a film about trees).

    I liked an online review which called this an insult to the real Rendlesham UFO Incident. Although I doubt whether a film can be construed as insulting a government report saying people saw some lights once, it’s certainly an insult to anyone who values keeping their food in their tummies.

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