Review: Unidentified / Cert: 15 / Director: Jason Richard Miller / Screenplay: Jason Richard Miller, Eddie Mui, Parry Shen / Starring: Parry Shen, Colton Dunn, Eddie Mui, Eric Artell / Release Date: October 28th
Brace yourself for a sci-fi found footage cross between The Hangover and The Fourth Kind. After getting on the wrong side of a local loan shark, a group of bickering friends flee into the Nevada desert, where they are subsequently beset by a very different kind of threat. Unfortunately for everyone, one of their number is Jodie (Artell), perhaps the most irritating character ever to populate a found footage film.
And there's plenty of competition in that department. For some reason, the characters in found footage horror films always tend to be awful people, from the vindictive brats of Cannibal Holocaust, to Unidentified's Jodie. These characters are the cinematic representation of those friends we all have, who remain glued to their mobile phones at a night down the pub, or house party. It's another peculiarity of this subgenre that we rarely get the payoff of seeing these terrible, terrible people die on screen – after all, once they're dead, who's left to hold the camera? It's little wonder that Jodie's friends are constantly trying to ditch him.
At least one of those friends is played by Parry Shen, who is as likeable here as he was in each Hatchet film, which distracts us from the tiresome company he keeps. We should be relieved that we have this anchor, however flimsy, since it takes far too long for any other reason to watch this film to appear. Again, as with so many other found footage nightmares, there's so much build-up and not nearly enough of the main event. Shen or no Shen, it means suffering through fifty minutes of Las Vegas 'antics' before anything starts happening. "Why are you still filming?" Good question. Please stop. Unidentified is so found footage that there's even a scene in which the characters watch footage recorded on an iPhone through the lens of their video camera. It consists mostly of Jodie singing about taking a piss, when he's not taking the piss. The switch from comedy to horror is an awkward one, coming too late in the game to work as it should. The bulk of the action – sorry, no little green men or drooling xenomorphs to see here – consists, as it always seems to do, of panicked snotty faces running around in the darkness until it's time for the credits to roll.
There is merit to this increasingly popular subgenre of horror, but there's very little of it to be found here. While it's technically fine, and the action of the last quarter will please some, we found it to be dull, repetitive and more than a little annoying. Unidentified is a classic close encounter of the turd kind.