Area 51 (film)
|Directed by||Oren Peli|
|Produced by||Steven Schneider
|Written by||Oren Peli|
|Edited by||Jake York|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|May 15, 2015|
Area 51 is a 2015 found footage science fiction horror film, written and directed by Oren Peli. The film stars Benjamin Rovner, Reid Warner and Darrin Bragg. The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on May 15, 2015 by Paramount Insurge.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2015)|
In a series of interviews conducted by friends, family and experts, discuss the sudden disappearance of Reid, Darren and Ben, three best friends who are also conspiracy theorists. Reid, who is the leader of the pack, is noted by his sister and colleagues for changing his behavior and lifestyle; in the three months leading up to his disappearance, Reid becomes obsessed with UFOs, extraterrestrial encounters and Area 51. This obsession leads him to losing his job and distancing himself from his family.
Next, a shaky camcorder records Reid, Darren and Ben driving to a house party. At the party, they have lots of fun, but when Reid is dared into performing karaoke, he disappears after a brief blackout occurs. Thinking he just took off, Darren and Ben continue partying without him. On their way home, the two of them encounter Reid standing in the middle of the road. Despite appearing dazed and quietsome, Reid says he's fine. The film then forwards three months later to where Reid, Darren and Ben are seen packing for a trip to Area 51, which they plan to break into. They have extensive equipment to help them break in including a machine that knocks out cellphone signals, night vision goggles and pills to mask their ammonia levels (the base has ammonia detectors).
The group travels to Las Vegas, where they meet Reid's friend, Jelena, another conspiracy theorist. Jelena reveals her father worked at Area 51, but got fired for "asking too many questions". Upon his death, he made Jelena hide all his secret files regarding the base before authorities could seize them. While reviewing her father's documents in a storage locker, Jelena explains the true Area 51 base is in fact a mile below ground. She also mentions that her father was particularly interested in a top-secret section only known as "S4". They uncover a photograph of an old man, who Jelena claims her father was constantly following.
Reid and the guys agree the old man must be of great value to the base and as such, must have very high security clearance. They prepare to track him down. The trio park near the local airport where they watch passengers disembark from unmarked Boeing 737's at the JANET terminal, which Reid says is an acronym for "Just Another Non Existent Terminal". To their amazement, they spot the old man leaving the terminal in his car. They follow him to his home out in the suburbs and wait for nightfall. A few hours later, they watch the old man drive off. Reid uses the opportunity to sneak into his home via the garage door. Darren chases after him while Ben waits in the car.
While searching the premises, their efforts are halted when Ben warns them on radio that the old man is back. Reid and Darren hide in the house while the old man and his family settle in. When the family goes to sleep, Reid and Darren tiptoe around the home in order to obtain the old man's ID badge and a bottle of his cologne in order to obtain a fingerprint for potential bio-metric scanners. The trio barely escape just as the house lights suddenly turn on.
Reid, Darren and Ben drive out to Rachel, Nevada. They interview various locals who all claim the base does house extraterrestrial beings who appear "terrifying" and "should not be let out". While on a drive to the edge of the base, they meet a local guide who reveals there are motion sensors around the base. He and Reid explain that if they were to sneak into the base, they would have to first locate the sensor and jam its signal before it changes frequency. While walking around the perimeter, the guide notes the exterior security defenses nearby, including various cameras and the camo men watching them. Just then, an unmarked SUV pulls up and a man exits insisting he's a tourist. He asks them what they're doing and quickly departs.
Later that night, Reid, Darren and Ben meet Jelena at their motel room, who wants to accompany them to Area 51. Despite some hesitation from Darren, the group agrees. Reid has Jelena take some pills to mask her ammonia levels while testing a jumpsuit that has been pumped with freon to mask her body temperature. Ben spots someone peaking inside his car outside. The door is suddenly banged on, but when they answer, nobody is outside. As Darren, Reid and Jelena prepare to go, Ben refuses to drive them. He demands Reid to explain why he is doing this. Reid explains he's experienced odd events involving missing time and that "something is pulling him towards the base". Seeing no other option, he insists he must do this. Ben then drives them out to the desert. They go over the plan before departing: Ben will wait in the car while Reid, Darren and Jelena sneak onto the base, obtain evidence of extraterrestrials before heading back.
Reid, Darren and Jelena begin their trek into the desert wearing gasmasks, their freon-laced jumpsuits and small camcorders. Along the way, they encounter another motion sensor which Reid disarms before it changes frequency. They narrowly avoid detection from a helicopter doing a lookout. After further trekking, they reach the base. They jump a perimeter fence, run onto the tarmac and hide in a hangar from armed soldiers.
Using the stolen ID badge and fingerprint, they gain entry to a staircase which takes them into the base's underground complexes. The trio carefully maneuver through long corridors, offices and additional staircases as they sneak past office workers and troops. They hide in a locker room where they find a bulletproof vest that has been partially melted and a walkie-talkie. They hear a mysterious, terrifying shriek on the walkie-talkie before they depart again. They arrive at the S2 Complex, where they find a mysterious green, bubbling liquid encased in large tubes, as well as large holding cells and a laboratory. They witness a soldier enter an armed vault. Using their thermal camera, they manage to enter the password (Darren deduces that the last numbers pressed will be the warmest) for the vault and get inside.
Inside the laboratory, they discover anti-gravity devices and large containers of white blood. When Darren and Jelena touch the outside of the container, the white blood boils. The blood, appearing sentient, tries to attack them. When this happens, the lab shakes and various instruments and beakers break, including the anti-gravity device which smashes out of its confinement. Reid and Jelena flee the lab while Darren steals a beaker of white blood. The trio descend further down into the base. They wander through various industrial sections of the vault until they come across another large hangar housing a black-coloured, saucer-shaped craft. Upon examining it, Reid touches the craft's structure and is stunned when it dissipates, as if it were opening. Jelena tries to do the same, but nothing happens. Reid climbs up a staircase overlooking the craft. When he notices a square-shaped hole in the top of the saucer, he jumps inside. When he does, the hole vanishes. Inside the craft, Reid finds a number of oval-shaped, white pods and a long-thin seat. He remarks how the interior of the craft is transparent, as he can see Darren and Jelena outside, but they can't see him. Reid then exits the saucer-shaped craft.
Finally, the trio make it to S4. They walk into another hangar of sorts, but at the far end lies a tall, wired fence and gate. Reid uses the ID badge and fingerprint to open the gate. The gate opens, but it quickly closes before they can enter. Jelena notes it may be a security protocol. They attempt to re-open the gate, but when they do alarms and sirens go off declaring a security breach. Reid and Jelena run past the gate before it closes, separating themselves from Darren. Armed troops appear and Darren flees. On the other side of the gate, Reid and Jelena find a large metal door. The door slowly opens, revealing a compound containing grey alien beings. Jelena panics, but Reid touches them and notes they're made of rubber, as if they were spacesuits for the extraterrestrials.
They walk further into the compound and find another large door in front of them. The metal door they entered from closes and the secondary door opens. Past the second door, they discover a cave system. They wander slowly through the main tunnel. As they descend further in, they find small rooms, one containing a large pile of clothes, another containing random items (glasses, etc.) and another full of toys and stuffed animals. Jelena picks up a doll and notes how she had the same doll as a child.
Reid tiptoes into another room and discovers a large number of oval-shaped white pods. He fears there may be an entire colony of aliens in the cave. Jelena points out one of the pods is open and insist they leave. Suddenly, a grey alien emerges from the opened pod. Reid and Jelena run through the cave and hide. They make it back to the compound and close the metal door before the alien reaches them. When the outward door opens, they appear to be in another section entirely. They find a large pipe and with no other option, use that to exit. Meanwhile, Darren is hiding in one of the hallways of the base as the alarms continue going off. He watches people being evacuated by troops. He looks down a hallway and spots an alien being's shadow. A soldier spots him and chases him into a lounge. Darren tries to warn the soldier about the alien, but it's too late; the alien attacks the soldier. Darren flees into a cafeteria next door and hides under a table. The alien destroys the cafeteria and immediately spots Darren. Darren flees into a backroom and escapes by using a small elevator.
Meanwhile, Reid and Jelena continue crawling through the pipe. They hear strange noises and spot an alien moving quickly below them. Jelena falls down a shaft and so does Reid. They find themselves in a large room completely coloured white. Reid and Jelena run through various corridors. They find mysterious flesh-like material and strange, indecipherable symbols. Jelena is nearly attacked by an alien and the two run away. As Reid tries to find a way out, Jelena is dragged by an unseen force. When Reid discovers she's gone, he panics and runs down more corridors searching for her. He finds her in another white room, but she appears completely entranced. The gravity in the room disappears and the two of them start floating freely. Reid panics and watches his camcorder escape through a small shaft. As it falls, the camcorder reveals the shaft to be part of a large, silver, disc-shaped craft ascending into the sky.
Darren manages to leave the base undetected, blending in with the rest of the Area 51 staff. While they are placed on trucks, he jumps the fence and runs into the desert back to the car. He finds Ben, who asks where Reid and Jelena are. Darren tells them they got separated, but they must leave now because "they're after him". Ben starts the car, but it suddenly loses power. Darren complains, but Ben says he's not doing anything. Ben then looks up and spots something. Darren looks up too and runs outside the car. Ben tells him to get inside, but Darren is suddenly pulled upward by an unseen force. Ben tries to cling onto the seat, but this fails and he's dragged upward also, presumably into the same craft containing Reid, Jelena and now Darren. The camera then cuts to black.
In a post-credits scene, an old man finds Reid's camcorder which escaped the craft departing the base.
- Reid Warner as Reid
- Darrin Bragg as Darren
- Jelena Nik as Jelena
- Ben Rovner as Ben
- Sandra Staggs as Mother
- Roy Abramsohn as Father
- David Saucedo as Town Local
- Glenn Campbell as himself
- Jamel King as Jamel Bragg
- Nikka Far as Nikki
- Norio Hayakawa as himself
Production for the film began in the fall of 2009. In April 2011, CBS Films hired director and actor Chris Denham to do some rewrites on Area 51. Peli filmed re-shoots in 2013. In August 2013, Jason Blum stated that the film had finished production and that Peli was "tinkering" with the film in post production. On March 14, 2015, Blum confirmed that the film was officially done and would perhaps be released on VOD. On April 6, 2015, it was reported that Blum had responded to a Twitter user who asked if he had any news on Area 51 by stating, "very very very soon. -JB". Finally, on April 23, 2015 it was announced the film would open exclusively in Alamo Drafthouse theaters and through video on demand platforms on May 15, 2015.
The film was released in Alamo Drafthouse theaters exclusively for a weekend-long-run, and on video on demand platforms beginning on May 15, 2015 courtesy of Paramount Insurge and Blumhouse Tilt. The film made a total of $7,556 for its weekend long-run.
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