WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS … IS UNLIKE ANYTHING A GROUP OF GOOD-TIME GUYS WILL EVER FORGET – IF THEY CAN MANAGE TO SURVIVE IT
That’s the tagline for the director debut of Jason R. Miller. After working with Adam Greene and his Ariescope company on films like Hatchet II and Frozen; Miller finally gets to come out on his own in the film, Unidentified. The film follows four friends on their journey to Las Vegas for some fun and gambling, but what they find is something they would never expect.
The film starts out with an introduction of our main character, Jodie, who runs his own YouTube page and is about as geeky as one possibly could be. He even draws his own superheroes and dresses up in costumes. He was one of the best parts of the movie, because he was so much like me and probably all of you who are reading this article. He quoted lines from films, battled about which superheroes were better than who, and didn’t really fit into the other three guys on the trip. He also looked a lot like Topher Grace, but I digress.
The other part of the gang were Dave, Jeremy, and Jodies brother-in-law, Nick. They were all fine actors and all, but I didn’t have a connection to any of them. They were the “straight guys” to Jodies puppity oddball character. They bring Jodie along on their trip to Vegas, basically because he’s related to Jeremy; he definitely does not fit in with them.
The trip starts out fun and jovial, and the movie is more of a comedy as they travel to Vegas and stop off at a restaurant and talk to the locals. They meet a man who tells them to visit this place that had supposed UFO and Sasquatch activity, and you get some foreshadowing. The whole first hour of the movie is pretty standard until the last thirty minutes.
This is where the film stops being a comedy and turns into a Science Fiction thriller. I won’t give away the plot, but it’s all aliens and ooze and abductions from here on out. I actually enjoyed this part, but given the first half of the movie is nothing like this, it didn’t really make much sense. Don’t get me wrong, you have a film like From Dusk Till Dawn, that starts as a gangster movie and moves into a vampire film out of nowhere. Yet, with Unidentified, there’s so much buildup, that when it turns it seems almost like it was tacked on. Almost.
There is foreshadowing throughout the movie that gives you hints as to what’s eventually going to happen; but it’s just so subtle, and almost ignored, that it’s not as smooth of a transition. The film being a “found footage” movie helped in this respect, because Miller was able to do some pretty cool camera tricks and reveals at the end of the movie.
Overall, the film was entertaining and fun, it just felt like at times, it was two separate films. I’m excited to see what else Miller will do in the future, and I’ll be be keeping an eye on Eric Artell; because he was just hilarious and was a genuine a good actor.
Here’s the official Press Release for the film and a preview of what it’s in store for you when you check out this great flick!
UNIDENTIFIED, the feature directorial debut of Jason R. Miller (co-producer and second-unit director of the hit horror films Hatchet 2 and Frozen), cleverly mixes sci-fi, suspense and laughs to create a truly unique take on an otherworldly encounter.
During a wild weekend in Las Vegas, four young friends get into trouble with a loan shark and must skip town in a hurry. But gambling debts may be the least of their worries after they get stranded in the vast Nevada desert. One of the guys discovers a mysterious metal fragment and then promptly goes missing during the night. When the remaining three catch up with their lost friend, they notice something oddly different about him. As his condition worsens, the others realize that some unearthly being may be stalking them in the wilderness.
UNIDENTIFIED stars Parry Shen (the Hatchet franchise, Better Luck Tomorrow), Colton Dunn (Key and Peele), Eddie Mui (Call Back) and Eric Artell (Pair of Kings). Parry Shen and Eddie Mui are also the producers, along with director Jason R. Miller.