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BEYOND THE SKY (2018)
aka FMS: FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME, ENCOUNTER, EXTRATERRESTRIAL INVADER
Directed by Fulvio Sestito
Written by Rebecca Berrih, Fulvio Sestito, Rob Warren Thomas (story), Marc Porterfield, Rob Warren Thomas (screenplay)
Starring Ryan Carnes, Jordan Hinson, Claude Duhamel, Martin Sensmeier, Don Stark, Peter Stormare, Milton Chee, Travis Walton, Dee Wallace, Danielle Burgio,
Meant to be some kind of hybrid found footage/cinematically filmed movie, BEYOND THE SKY doesn’t seem to care to try to make things feel authentic, so why should I?
A group of youtube documentarians head to a conference filled with those who claim to have been abducted by aliens in order to find out the truth! This is where head investigator Chris (Ryan Carnes) meets Emily (Jordan Hinson) a woman who claims she is abducted every year on her birthday. As Emily’s birthday approaches, the crew follow her in hopes to catch prove or disprove her abduction theory, meanwhile Chris and Emily begin, of course, to fall in love…
While this film does have its moments, such as casting Peter Stormare and THAT SEVENTIES SHOW’s Don Stark as UFO believers and a few interesting scenes where the culture of UFO believers are accounted. I also really liked the effects which are rather accomplished for this type of low fi production with a trippy hallucination sequence, some fun looking aliens and formidable spaceships. Still, the pervasiveness of a bland and predictable story surface throughout. The film really seems to want to want to be a romance story where two opposite people who, of course, hate and distrust each other, finally find that they are exactly what they are looking for when the shit hits the fan. These romance comedy aspects really get in the way here and make everything feel by the book and risk free in the story department because…don’t you know true love conquers all?
The aspects of found footage are so dodgy here, they might as well simply scrapped the idea. Music is overlayed on top of the camera footage. Multiple camera angles are shot, even when there aren’t enough people with them to take these shots. The way found footage works is when it is made to feel authentic. Yes, it is a cheap way to do things, but in order for it to work the footage through the lens must feel like it is being taped live and without a symphony hiding in the background or some editor switching cameras every three seconds. In order to tell BEYOND THE SKY’s story, intimate moments between two people occur frequently. There’s also a scene where the investigators take peyote and we are some made privy to the hallucinations despite the fact that this is footage caught on a camera. How are we able to see inside these characters heads? The found footage filmmaking style is dropped completely once on board the alien ship for no reason. Instead of distracting the audience with this lack of a shit given about authenticity of the footage shown, the filmmakers lazily just shoot hand-held guerilla style whenever it makes the shot easier. This makes for a sad found footage film in my book.
BEYOND THE SKY even gets preachy in the end about the human condition in the end as our pair of lovebirds have a heart to heart with the invaders which make them question their own motives. This is just a film with a decent eye for flashy filmmaking, but an utterly flawed script. Look beyond BEYOND THE SKY, there are much better alien abductee and found footage films out there.
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