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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Kickstarter Movie Of The Week: Beacon Point (2016)


Have you ever felt your heart break while watching a movie?

That was me finally getting to watch Beacon Point, a film I've been looking forward to seeing for years and the DVD of which arrived from the States this week.

I had been so excited from the moment I saw the first, intriguing, trailer back in 2014, and then later that year I eagerly backed the Kickstarter.

Then there was the long wait for the movie to be finished and finally released to the home video market.

Somewhere along the way, presumably for marketing reasons, the initial creepy posters - featuring the striking carving that is supposedly at the centre of the story - were phased out in favour of more SyFy Channel-friendly fodder.

Until eventually the cover of the DVD was revealed (see above) and all pretence at spooky atmosphere was replaced by a stonking big alien spaceship.

Which doesn't even appear in the film!

A group of hikers set off on a guided tour of the Appalachian Trail, but then they get lost and weird shit starts to happen to them, for largely unexplained reasons.

Beacon Point starts poorly and never really recovers from that. There's hints and suggestions of possibly a nugget of a good idea in all this, but it's never allowed to take root.

None of the central hikers are particularly endearing anyway, so we aren't that invested in their fates, and ultimately protagonist Zoe's (Rae Olivier) kind of happy ending doesn't feel earned by any stretch of the imagination.

It's clear that writer/director Eric Blue was trying to keep things enigmatic, but the story's too patchy and all over the place for the enigma to be engaging.

I get that he wanted to do something a bit different with the tried-and-tested "hikers lost in the woods" formula, but this experiment just didn't work for me.

Somewhere along the way from first teaser to finished movie all sense of subtly was lost. While the original, exciting, trailer suggested a mystery, and gave us fleeting glimpses of "shadow people", the actual movie is totally on the nose with its alien abduction angle.

We don't even get to experience the surprise of learning that these creatures are aliens because it's right there on the cover of the DVD!

What is a lot less clear is what they're doing and why - kidnapping humans (and possibly other fauna) and returning them to Earth, seemingly to spy on us, but why?

There's illness, strange scarab stones that might be alien technology, some people get attacked by the aliens while others get abducted... but there's no logic or consistency in the plot.

And what's with the monument on top of Beacon Point?

It's not that I was looking for another Blair Witch, I just wanted to be surprised and enthralled in the manner that the initial trailer had suggested I would be.

Sadly, Beacon Point just didn't deliver that.

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