With as many found footage films – and faux-umentaries (as this stands between the two forms) – there just don’t seem to be that many about aliens. I mean, there are some, but they don’t tend to be good. PHOENIX FORGOTTEN is the best of the lot, giving characters you become attached to so that when the probes hit the fan you feel for them. With as low budget as these types of films tend to be though, taking on the special effects of a possible ship and aliens is costly. Atop that, it’s a risky proposition. Done well, it’s chilling and disturbing. Done poorly and you just created something a kid in a fourth grade somewhere could do on their dad’s iPad. More than ghosts, aliens seem hard to translate, with most of the films about them focusing on a big reveal and less on the build-up. OR they focus on build up and fumble the reveal. It’s a balancing act that is arguably more complicated than anything with ghosts/demons because we are used to those never being seen. An alien movie without aliens is like cake without someone sitting on it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you CASE 347.
CASE 347 begins with footage of an interview, a woman being asked about a mysterious occurrence that happened to her and someone else. She is in a hospital setting and the man asking her is trying to discover what exactly happened. What we learn though is that the truth is almost unbelievable. Flash ahead to another young woman making a documentary about her father, the man in the previous footage, who had become obsessed with flying saucers and alien abduction. She and her two crew members discover in the father’s home a locked room that the daughter had never seen which is filled floor to ceiling with articles and ‘evidence’ of alien abductions. The woman insists that her father was a crazy obsessive and wants to dig into these ‘cases’ and get to the bottom of things, if nothing else, to put this, and her father, to bed. As the team starts to investigate the stories though the begin to discover the strange network of people the father was in contact with, people who look to the skies for answers and who tell tales of mysterious craft and armed bases. One evening two men appear at their door insisting that they have proof that what her father believed was true and tell her of a locked safe in the secret room which they have the combination for. As the young woman and her crew learn more about what her father believed in and what the people, he had been in contact had purportedly experienced they begin to wonder if they aren’t getting too deep into the quagmire of this world of abductions themselves, and if there may not be something to the stories they have heard.
CASE 347 is an engaging and well-made movie that works to embrace found footage and the structure of a faux-umentary. The acting is good, the movie works well to stay in its lane and focuses on the build up and not big reveals after big reveals. It’s a slow burn that wobbles but manages to stay on the rails. The idea of this woman trying to discover why her father was obsessed with these things leads to several revelations and it builds the movie very well.
Ah, but things ain’t so perfect.
The problem with this film, as with so, so many found footage movies is that they don’t know how to end it. Like, they have an ending, but it feels so sudden, and without any real payoff that it leaves you frustrated. In slow burning things a lot of ideas are brought up but never discussed and as the climax comes, we have proverbial inferno, and it didn’t necessarily deserve that. There are some definite scares. There are creepy moments. And there’s an engaging story here with pretty good acting. The ending just feels so forced and the very ending stinger just feels silly. It’s a decent movie, and fans of abduction movies will definitely dig it, but it just doesn’t adequately pay off a decent beginning. Movies like this are frustrating because there’s so much promise, and some great moments that just get fumbled at the end.
This is absolutely not a ‘bad’ movie so much as a frustrating one. Saying that though, I know some folks will dig on this dark delight so give it a spin if you are into the mysteries of the sky.
Me, it was a one time dine and dash and that’ OK too.
2.5 out of 5
I review a lot of found footage. Check my other reviews.