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In 2007, OREN PELI took the horror crowds and mainstream audiences by storm via his low budget found footage hit PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. I personally thought the film was overrated, but hey, the franchise made all kinds of coin, so what do I know! Although Peli has been busy since as a producer and to a lesser degree as a writer, his directorial follow up AREA 51 (WATCH IT HERE) has been gathering cobwebs on the shit-shelf since 2009… until now that is!
I gotta hand it to the folks behind the film, they did such a great job at brushing its release under the rug, that I almost missed it. Yup the only reason you’re reading this crap is that I had this left field thought yesterday “Whatever happened to Area 51?” So I looked it up and found out that it got the VOD/Instant release spiel last May with zero fanfare behind it. So I tapped it and… well... yeah. This is going to be a short write-up! Not because I’m in “lazy bum” mode but due to me simply not having much to spit about this shite… period! AREA 51 was just a long stroke-off with no payoff. For the first 40 minutes or so, I was somewhat engaged and I stress the word “somewhat” (it all got tedious after a while in a "get to it already" fashion). The core group of dudes was relatable enough (although they never shut the f*ck up and kept talking over each other like cocaine fueled Tupperware wives) in their stock types kind of ways (the wild man, the uptight guy, the black dude); I got a couple of laughs out of the boys early "frat" like behavior and yeah I got to admit in geeking out on some of the tech these guys used on their quest. Some pretty cool stuff!
Alas, after testing my patience, the flick decided to take on my suspension of disbelief, right down to our core group putting John Rambo to shame via breaking in a supposedly "heavily guarded” (worse security ever) military base. But ya know what? It all could have been worth it if at least I would have been paid me off at the end for that hour of ho-hum shenanigans and gaps in logic to serve the plot… but no dice… not even close! This is coming from somebody that has been fascinated by AREA 51 and UFOs for a long time now BTW. Once it came down to pay the piper; AREA 51 only had pennies in its pockets. The low on tension last act went overboard in the shaky cam department (If I see somebody go up or down a flight of stairs one more time, I’ll…), the horror ideas/scenarios it came up with were either lame or shoddily executed/communicated and the handful of potent WTF bits the finale did have were urinated on by the mediocrity of the rest.
Hence as the end credits rolled the first thing that popped in my mind was “All that.. for that? Bugh. I now know why AREA 51 had been MIA for 6 years and was quickly buried once released – IT SUCKS! What a waste of my time…