DIRECTOR: Mathieu Ratthe
WRITER: Mathieu Ratthe
Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles
Alex C. Nachi
When three couples decide to head to Gracefield to spend a long weekend away in a luxurious cabin in the woods, the group is suddenly interrupted during a house party when a meteorite flies over the cabin and crashes in the nearby woods. As they begin to investigate the woods, something extraterrestrial from within the falling meteorite has been unleashed upon the group of friends. They must fight for survival before it's too late and they are abducted.
When The Gracefield Incident begins, we see our happy couple driving along. She is pregnant and recording her husband. Cue the couple that needs to film every waking second of their lives. They are sickly sweet and lovey-dovey. To the point, it's almost a welcome relief when we get the inevitable car pulling out into an intersection shot and a speeding car slams into the side of them, killing their baby and almost blinding our leading character.
Skip to ten months later. The couple is all but happy again. The death of their unborn child is a distant memory. Being the first feature film written and directed by Mathieu Ratthe, I think it really shows. After the scene of our couple losing their child, we get an opening credit sequence featuring an upbeat pop song. It's like every single scene change feels uneven. We have no time to grieve for this couple. While I'm glad that they didn't spend half of the movie moping around and arguing, It still feels like he hasn't grasped the concept of a transition period.
When our three couples start to make their way to the cabin in the woods, It's quickly revealed that the cabin is owned by our lead characters boss. His boss built the cabin as he has a fascination with finding and capturing evidence of a bigfoot. Immediately, I was hooked by the story. I thought we were getting a movie about a bigfoot. I didn't even care that the gimmick was the overused found footage genre. I was just excited that we were getting something relating to Bigfoot.
Once the three couples get to the cabin, this is where the movie falls apart. Soon we head into a more extraterrestrial territory, and I lost complete interest. For the rest of the movie, it's filled with ridiculous character decisions and a lot of loose ends. Once that meteorite flies over the cabin, all hell breaks loose, and it's just repeated scenes of our characters going out into the woods to try and locate their missing friends. One after the other, they disappear. It becomes tiring and repetitive.
As the movie heads into the third act and we witness this huge alien running around a forest and grabbing people on the head as shown on the poster. I expected this huge revelation. Nope, we get nothing. The movie builds to the entire cast being abducted, and suddenly, we have all five of our missing characters returned to Earth naked, and it ends. So the aliens wanted to abduct people, but it's never explained why they do it. We never see the kidnapped victims being probed for information. The aliens just decided for a routine trip to Earth to kidnap and return them all to Earth after a few hours. It makes no sense.
The only new element that feels fresh in this found-footage movie is that the footage that is constantly being recorded is from our lead characters glass eye. While a lot of the movie is also filmed with handheld cameras from other characters, we also see a first-person perspective from the glass eye. I thought this offered a slightly fresh take on just the found camera footage. It's just a shame that the movie falls into so many tropes of the found-footage genre. It's hard to find anything that feels original.
The acting in the film is a little all over the place. I think the best performance in the movie is actor/writer/director Mathieu Ratthe. He is working over time right here. I think had the film had a more well-known cast, things may have felt more authentic and better acted. This feels like Mathieu has hired his friends to make a movie. So a lot of the performances feel like a student film. It's not entirely bad as it makes the found-footage feel more real, but the performances feel uneven.
Lastly, we come to the horror elements. How does this movie hold up with its scare factor? This is all about the jump scares. Quick pans and cuts to suddenly reveal a giant alien is running at the screen. If you've ever watched any found-footage film, it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect. I found that the movie felt very inspired by M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. Right down to the cornfields, crop-circles, and the shots of the aliens. The alien pulling its foot into the field is lifted right from Signs.
DEATH TOLL: 1
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A guy loses his eye in a car crash.
- A couple loses their baby in a car crash.
- A woman is dragged up into the sky.
- The clothes of two people are found torn on the road.
- Several people are grabbed on the head by an alien.
(Note: There is very minimal bloodshed)
The Gracefield Incident is another found-footage film that joins a long line of alien and extraterrestrial based sci-fi horror. Sadly, it adds nothing original or new to the sub-genre. Filled with silly character decisions, a heap of loose ends, and a third act that doesn't explain a single thing that came before it. I think has to be one of worst found-footage movies yet. The writer and director sadly couldn't even provide some gore or scares. I don't plan on visiting Gracefield anytime soon.