Tagged UFO

The Kettering Incident – Episode 3: “The Search”

Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 3: “The Search”
Directed by Steve Krawitz
Written by Cate Shortland

* For a review of Episode 2, “The Lights” – click here
* For a review of Episode 4, “The Mill” – click here
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Out among the forest surrounding Kettering, moths float about, and at home Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) feels as if she can literally see the air around her. She continues to record everything in her notebook. She’s in the bed of Fergus Mcfadden (Henry Nixon). Meanwhile, Fergus has found the cellphone of missing Chloe (Sianoa Smit-McPhee). He brings it to Max and Barbara Holloway (Damien Garvey/Sacha Horler), the parents, and her brother Adam (Brad Kannegiesser) is there to hear the news, too. They have somewhere to begin now. Although they hvae no idea where the road is headed.
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Anna has to contend with Dt. Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) asking all sorts of questions re: Chloe. We know his intentions. However, even without knowing everything Anna has a sixth sense about guys like him.
On the cell, Fergus listens to the voicemail from Chloe, the terrifying message. He questions Eliza Grayson (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) about whether it’s a joke. She is a good pretender. A faker, really. She doesn’t realise that tihs time, Chloe isn’t faking. What we’re seeing is the hysteria in Kettering: “I guess I just wanted to be a part of it,” says Eliza. All a sham.
Bad boy Dutch is over to see Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) about the rest of his drugs. Now the young guy is on the hook for $10K, and the dirty cop’s not exactly the forgiving kind. He has jobs to do that need a hand. Just great.
Anna heads back to her father Roy’s (Anthony Phelan) place. She finds a map marked with spots in the Kettering forest. Out there people are searching for Chloe. A base camp is setup, all sorts of operations. When Anna winds up there nobody is exactly welcoming. Not after all that’s happened. Although she manages to muscle her way into Deb Russell’s (Alison Whyte) vehicle for a ride up to where the search parties are moving. On the way they hit a small kangaroo. Deb watches on as Anna puts the creature out of its misery with a rock to the head. Chilling, though only because Deb sees this as creepy herself. We know Anna’s probably the least capable of murder in ole Kettering.

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Nobody at the search is pleased to have Anna there, not even Papa Roy. Doesn’t help she has blood all over her hands, literally. She gets the cold welcome from Craig Grayson (Ben Oxenbould) and others, as well as the semi-longing star of activist Jens Jorgensson (Damon Gameau). Nevertheless, everyone heads into the woods, protective gear on, police with their dogs alongside.
Between the trees Anna sees something red. She starts hearing noises, seeing lights in the woods. She gets stuck in the mud, calling out for “Gillian” but it’s only Adam there to comfort her surprisingly.
Dutch is at the Holloway place. Of all people to be leading that side of the investigation. Not only is he dirty, he and Barbara have an affair going on. He gathers up a piece of clothing, talks about combing through Chloe’s social media accounts. Then once he gets a moment to himself in her room he finds the package for which he’s looking so frantically. All the while Eliza has her eye on Barb and Dutch.
Husband Max is just numb. And perhaps there’s a bigger worry behind all that. We know there is a lot more to Max. Likely something sinister down the pipes.
When Adam takes Anna back to the search site, Roy shoos his daughter away. Typical. There’s only more suspicion and paranoia for Ms. Macy. Even her own father doesn’t know what to think of her innocence, or guilt. The whole town is leaning her way mostly. In some way. For Roy’s part he seems to have something to hide, too. He was a cop, sure. There are further skeletons, though.

Anna secretly discovers Deb’s cancer, seeing the chemo implant on her chest. She also suggests Anna’s attitude “sucks” and that changing it may help her fit in. But further than that Anna finds out more about the Dr. Fiona McKenzie (Kris McQuade) with whom she was trying to speak at the hospital recently. Turns out she works as a tour guide at a prison nearby.
Over at the mill, Roy lets Max know the search is over for the day. He also talks about the Sullivan place. There’s more to that land than just the UFO sightings. Something else happened out there.
Dutch goes through Chloe’s computer. He finds videos on the presence of alien life, et cetera. Also there are pictures of him, all over Kettering. She kept a nice visual log of his comings and goings. At least for a little while. Smart girl. Now, the detective heads things off with his access to her things. Sketchy, dude.
Finally, Anna goes to see Dr. McKenzie and finds out lots more. “Things started happening,” she tells Anna. “Strange cancers” and all sorts of other things. One of those cases includes Deb. All of Kettering both threatened Dr. McKenzie, plus labelled her crazy. She knew Chloe had nosebleeds. She knows more than she even lets on to Anna, only warning she ought to leave. Now. Afterwards, Anna winds up talking with Fergus across the bar, as Dutch keeps his eagle eye trained on them. She tries getting to Gillian’s files, to dive deeper into the investigation herself. Sadly, Fergus can’t understand the greater significance of what’s been happening in their quaint town all these years.
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Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) continues believing her daughter Gillian is out there. Her man Travis (Kevin MacIsaac) is not at all interested in entertaining those thoughts, to the detriment of their relationship. When she calls him “simple minded” and a “leech” this is more than his fragile masculinity can take. He beats her. A real piece of shit. We see a better side to Dutch, as he responds to a call that brings him to Renae’s place. His mother was a battered woman. Well, Renae is tragically typical, not wanting anyone to know. Especially not the police. Travis doesn’t respond too kind to Dutch, as he knows about the detective and his drug dealing. But Dutch isn’t a pushover. He threatens the guy, fatally, if there are any more domestic abuse calls.
To the Holloways goes Anna. She brings a bottle of wine, looking to know if Chloe had any strange marks on her skin anywhere. Barb doesn’t remember anything specific, eventually wanting her out. Although Max is a little more reasonable, it’s probably best for them all. Upstairs, Eliza is dressed in Chloe’s pyjamas, and there’s an odd moment between her and Max. An almost eerie look from him, though that could just be my eye.
Then Anna makes a big mistake. She has sex with Dutch. Or at least begins the lead into it before getting a nosebleed. In the couch, Anna finds a necklace; you know which one. This gets her quite suspicious. Immediately that puts Dutch in aggressive mode, defensive. The questions from Anna start to shed light on his shady behaviour. Glad she didn’t fall into bed with this guy.

Dutch: “Why did you come back?
Anna: “Its my home
Dutch: “You dont have a home

The reoccurring “Crimson and Clover” interest comes from Anna and Gillian having loved the song, recording their own version on a tape she carries with her. Roy isn’t pleased with his daughter’s attitude or behaviour. He doesn’t like that Anna went to talk to Dr. McKenzie. You just know there is something more to it all, that Roy knows more than he leads on. He tries to push his daughter away from home, but she is not leaving. We discover more about how Renae and Roy had an affair, which is a sore spot for him. He drives Anna out his house after she brings it up.
Next day the search continues on. Roy finds Anna gone, elsewhere. Anywhere. Barb and Max spend their days apart staring out separate windows; her at home, him busy over at the mill trying to keep his mind occupied. In a pile of logs, the body of Chloe is found. Right under the nose of her father. So god damn sad.
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One truly intense episode. A great chapter in this mini-series. Love this show! Great drama, lots of mystery. I dig when a show can draw things out properly, and the writers are doing a fantastic job. Next episode is titled “The Mill” and it looks extremely intense.

What’s Been Going On Up at Skinwalker Ranch?

Skinwalker Ranch. 2013. Dir. Devin McGinn & Co-directed by Steve Berg.  Written by Adam Ohler.
Starring Taylor Bateman, Steve Berg, Michael Black, Erin Cahill, Carol Call, Kyle Davis, Mike Flynn, Jon Gries, Devin McGinn, and Michael Horse. Highland Film Group.
Rated R. 86 minutes.


If you haven’t heard of Skinwalker Ranch before, the actual location, it’s a large property of nearly 500-acres in the southeastern part of Utah. The ranch came to worldwide attention after appearing in the Salt Lake City news, as well as being covered in a series of articles by journalist George Knapp, which claimed a family bought the property and later experienced a various number of strange, unexplainable events ranging from chupacabra-like animals roaming the property to alien/UFO sightings, and much more. Of course, all that can be taken lightly because I certainly haven’t seen anything conclusive about this. I like to scour the internet late at night when I’m bored – topics usually include paranormal stuff and serial killers, et cetera – anything creepy. Even further, the movie Skinwalker Ranch is quite loosely based on the events talked about in reference to the actual location. Let’s just say… this is – inspired by certain supposedly true events.
exclusive-red-band-trailer-for-skinwalker-ranchA man named Hoyt (Jon Gries) buys the infamous ranch with great plans. Unfortunately, Hoyt’s life is soon thrown into disarray when his son suddenly disappears into thin air, right in front of him and his wife’s eyes. A team of researchers come in to investigate the paranormal phenomena happening around the ranch. They discover bumps in the night. Images of a small boy running through the kitchen at the exact same hour of the night, every single night. One evening, a massive wolf-like beast appears in the fields around the ranch, terrorizing everyone. It’s obvious Skinwalker Ranch is plagued by otherworldly things. The real turning point comes when a Native American man comes to bless the property in aid and ends up seemingly almost experiencing a heart attack – he tells them they’ve “got to get the fuck out of here“. From there, everything slowly gets more sinister. As you’d likely expect.

There isn’t a whole lot to love in Skinwalker Ranch honestly, but it’s not terrible. I opted to watch it twice. First time around I really enjoyed it because of the visual effects, which are certainly great. When I decided to review it, as I always do with a movie I haven’t seen too recently, I re-watched the film. Needless to say, I came out the second time realizing I didn’t really enjoy the film. It’s flashy and has a couple decent scares, or more so thrills, but overall nothing special.
skinwalker-ranch-ghost-runningThe one truly creepy moment was the aforementioned scene involving the Native American gentleman who gathers Hoyt and the crew around a fire to help bless the ranch. Before his heart attack-like affliction, he seems to see something in the distance, as he is chanting a Native American sort of song. His eyes are wide and he stares off while still chanting. Then it strikes him. He gets out of there so quickly afterwards it’s really unsettling, and not to mention he tells them to “get the fuck out of there“. His demeanour goes from one end of the spectrum to another in a heartbeat. The actor really helped by doing a good job.
Most of what I didn’t enjoy about this film is that it uses some really tired and played out cliches. For instance, you get the typical child ghosts. And that would be fine – if you didn’t have them running through rooms in ghostly fashion, the obligatory creepy little girl ghost with her mouth hanging open and strange black vein-like striations going up her face. Those sort of things are really out of place most of the time. In fact, I’d go as far to say that those types of creepy kids are very much a significant trademark of Asian horror – they’ve got that area locked down, and well-done in many of those foreign movies. Here, it feels like they just couldn’t find any other way to make the kids creepy. It had to be the typical, run of the mill scary kid; like an archetype, a stamp they bring out for the crap horror movies.
What I did enjoy were the visual effects. Particularly, there’s a wolf-like creature that terrorizes the ranch on several occasions. Not only were the effects on the creature very good, they also worked to make things scary and tense. I liked one scene where the wolf shows up out of nowhere, and proceeds to push the car around with a few people inside – sort of reminded me of a good creature feature.
Also, there’s a scene with a large alien stalking through the house. The effects here were also nice. I liked the look of the alien. It was imposing and also not the typical ‘grey’ alien design; at least there was something fresh among a lot of the stale garbage in this film.
vhuf.pngThe only performance in this movie worth talking about is Jon Gries. Even then, there isn’t much to go on about other than he played his part well. If it weren’t for him, and his character as well, I probably would’ve lost interest a lot quicker than I did while re-watching this movie. He is a good character actor who I always enjoy seeing. Gries is good at playing scarred characters; whether it’s a person who has succumbed to their own demons, or one acted upon terribly by outside forces, he has a good range for these types of roles. It’s too bad he didn’t have any other good characters to bounce off – most of the others weren’t particularly unlikeable, they just weren’t exactly charismatic either. Gries was the only one who stood out in any way, shape, or form. And like I pointed out, there isn’t a whole lot for Gries to do other than act distraught; little else.

Overall I can give this a film 2 stars out of 5. Not a complete waste of time because I do like how they used the found footage sub-genre to make this feel like a real look into the actual Skinwalker Ranch location while also combining that style with the use of, often, heavy special effects. Whereas I enjoy something more like what As Above, So Below accomplished this year with their combination of found footage and effects, Skinwalker Ranch falls short because the story is too familiar. All the genre elements they try to force into the plot really only end up leaving the whole thing feeling off-balance. Furthermore, without a strong plot there’s really no room for any truly great characters, and lacking such characters there will always be missing great performances. Gries holds up his small end of the bargain, but other than him this film is pretty much a wash in terms of acting. The special effects are great at times and certainly provide some creepy, as well as thrilling moments. Regardless, the effects can’t hold the movie up for its entirety.
I wouldn’t rush to try and see this movie. If you’ve got time to kill and want to see a little horror movie with some paranormal/supernatural elements, then throw it on. But if you want a found footage movie with something more to offer, there are absolutely better ways to enjoy the sub-genre.