I really hate aliens. Nothing personal. My brain just seems convinced that I’ll die during an alien invasion. Does that mean I actually believe in UFO sightings in the like? Not really. But the fear remains the same.
So when I watched The McPherson Tape in 2021, I was both impressed and a bit terrified. This was found footage done right in the era before The Blair Witch Project. The technique was convincing. The actors were believable. It was, to me, perfect. Rubber alien masks and all.
But while reading about The McPherson Tape, I learned that there was a 1998 remake by the same director. I was certainly intrigued. How do you improve upon something already so great?
Turns out, it’s pretty difficult. And in this case, it didn’t happen.
Like the original, Alien Abduction follows a family during an evening of celebrations. The McPhersons are gathered for Thanksgiving. Sixteen-year-old Tommy begins to film his family with his new camera.
As the family sit down for dinner, the power goes out. The three brothers (including Tommy and his camera) go out to see what the problem is. They arrive at the fusebox and see that it’s been tampered with. As they go to investigate further, they discover a ship and an alien cutting into a cow with a sort of laser.
The brothers are spotted by the aliens and run home. Much like the original, the family are terrorised throughout the night by the aliens. They kill an alien, try to keep it as a prisoner, but soon realise that it is missing. And speaking of missing? The family begin to disappear one by one.
Throughout, the movie is occasionally interrupted by interviews with the likes of police, a director and an academic. These serve no purpose whatsoever and just slow the movie’s plot down. Though once I understood that this was originally aired on UPN, I wondered if these interjections were meant to be at the end of commercial breaks. Watching it in one go, it really doesn’t work.
The remake has more sex, drinking, and racism. It also has a much longer running time. This is pretty unnecessary, as it really drags out the story. The characters, while given more screen time, are not actually more fleshed out. They’re actually really unlikable.
Overall, I was really disappointed by Alien Abduction. I really have a soft spot for The McPherson Tape and think it’s completely brilliant. It just goes to prove that budget doesn’t always mean it will make for a better movie.
If anything, I think I’ll be rewatching The McPherson Tape tonight.