When the tag team of micro-budget producer Jason Blum and director Oren Peli unleashed the found-footage ghost flick Paranormal Activity, I don’t think anybody expected the world to go so ridiculously crazy over a movie that barely contained performances, action, or actual scares. But that film definitely had an atmosphere that allowed for almost anything to happen. (Even though nothing did.) Following that film’s success, Peli got involved with a similar film of the found-footage variety, called Area 51. And then…nothing. He wrote the screenplay for the boring thriller Chernobyl Diaries, and produced Insidious and sequels to that and the Paranormal movies. But what of Area 51? Well according to Blum, it’s been complete for a while now. So was the film so indubitably terrible that he decided to just shelve it forever? Not even close.
Speaking with the website We Got This Covered, Blum lets everybody know that the film isn’t just an urban legend. “It exists!” he says. “We made it! We’re futzing with the movie in post-production.” Makes sense, considering, even with a small budget, a film about aliens is bound to have some CGI elements involved. But since he doesn’t say when Area 51 actually wrapped filming, it’s unclear exactly how long a process this has been.
“Paranormal Activity, remember, it was made about four years before it came out,” Blum continues, “so Oren likes to tinker, and he’s still tinkering, but hopefully one day we’ll both see the finished version!” Those aren’t the words of a producer who has a clear idea of what is happening on one of his films, but he apparently trusts Peli to do his thing. Anytime a producer uses the word “hopefully,” my face contorts into a grimace.
So what is the film even about? Nothing outlandish at all. Teenagers go searching around Area 51, somehow without getting caught, and there are probably aliens and government cover-ups involved. But then it might also have something to do with ghosts. Alien ghosts? Might as well be. [We’ve already got ghost sharks, so why not? – Ed.] At least that would be somewhat different from the norm. Area 51 stars Reid Warner (Sonnets in the City), Ben Rovner (Beach Bar: The Movie), Roy Abramsohn (Escape From Tomorrow), Sandra Staggs (Born & Raised), Jelena Nik, and Jeffefer Ludwigsen. It also boasts UFO “expert” and Area 51 proponent Glenn Campbell, playing himself in some capacity.
I certainly hope they don’t go crazy with the government aspect, since the U.S. actually acknowledged that Area 51 exists recently. Not that they admitted to hording alien technology or anything.
Below you can find a video that contains the only clips of Area 51 out there that I know of, looped into a talk about Peli and his influence. You can find them starting at 1:29. Maybe we’ll end up getting to see this before the year is over with, but I doubt it. No conspiracy involved.