The found footage genre is alive and well in 2014 – a genre that itself has spanned a series of sub-genres within itself. Hangar 10 is a British sci-fi thriller output that does not work as well as it probably should have.
Gus, Sally and Jake are metal detector enthusiasts documenting their latest excursion in the Rendlesham Forest, where decades ago there was an infamous UFO sighting. After their car disappears and their GPS equipment fails, they become hopelessly lost in the woods, and continuously disturbed by a nearby alien life form.
While the movie looks impressive and is aesthetically a solid entry into the found footage category, its slow pace and Blair Witch vibe keep it from being anything more than a generic tale of people in the wrong place at the wrong time who see some weird stuff. The audience doesn’t really learn anything concrete about the UFOs until the last fifteen minutes, and even then, we are left feeling empty, and with more questions than answers. The found footage technique is done well in Hangar 10, but at times suffers from the ‘why are they still filming?’ problem.
The movie fails to provide any real tension, or even much interest, for what is going on because it relies too heavily on cliché sounds and visuals for much of the movie’s runtime. The effects only scratch the surface of what is possible for a story like this, using ideas that have been seen a thousand times over. The telltale floating orb of light from the spaceships do not do anything more than blink at our characters, and are more pretty to look at than they are scary.
Not that there aren’t some great individual moments here. Sound does play a major role in the earlier UFO scenes – loud metallic groanings, sirens, and screeches – and these do make for a somewhat unsettling atmosphere when the audience is still getting the lay of the plot. My favorite moment – or at least the one that got to me the most – actually didn’t have anything to do with UFOs. It was a quick little moment when, during a pretty boring expository scene, a military jet suddenly comes screaming through the screen. And I was wearing earphones. Yikes! Hangar 10’s big money shot at the end is worth the wait, but sadly is ruined if you watch the trailer, so try to avoid that if you can.
Not much is known or revealed about our three main characters except for the somewhat predictable love triangle – Gus and Sally are together, but Jake has a crush on Sally, and Gus knows that Jake has a crush on Sally. This does make them less one-dimensional, but doesn’t matter in the least when it comes to the plot. Their scenes together, when they are lost in the woods, are what brings back memories of The Blair Witch Project, as they fight and blame each other for their situations and gradually go a little crazy from the experience. The actors are at least good in their roles, and believable, likable people with whom you do not mind spending 90 minutes.
Hangar 10 is not a bad movie by any means, it just doesn’t do anything different from similar films to make it stand out from the crowd. The acting and look of the film is good, and there is real potential behind the story, but this final result doesn’t live up to any of it. Hangar 10 will be in select theaters and on VOD Friday, November 7th.
WICKED RATING: 4/10
Title: Hangar 10
Director(s): Daniel Simpson
Writer(s): Adam Preston, Daniel Simpson
Stars: Robert Curtis, Abbie Salt
Release: November 7, 2014 – Limited theatrical and VOD
Studio/ Production Co: IFC Midnight
Sub-Genre: Found Footage