Science fiction isn’t always the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the Sundance Film Festival, but mixed in the indie coming of age dramedies and non-mainstream fare, there’s always at least a couple of interesting genre offerings, like The Signal and I Origins last year. For instance, in 2015 the adaptation of the post-apocalyptic novel Z for Zachariah will have it’s premiere in Park City. Michael Madsen’s—not the Michael Madsen you know from Quentin Tarantino movies—sort of alien invasion documentary, The Visit, will also debut at the fest, and has dropped this tense new trailer.
The speculative documentary approach makes sense for Madsen, who is primarily known for his nonfiction work like Into Eternity: A Film from the Future and The Average of the Average. From what we gather, this isn’t quite fiction but isn’t quite documentary, toeing the line between the two, presenting the idea of a hypothetical alien invasion and asking whether or not the people of Earth are prepared for such a thing.
Here’s the synopsis from Twitch:
An alien encounter. A hypothetical visitor arrives from Outer Space. The authorities are immediately alerted—the military, defense and communication advisors, and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. How to deal with this unprecedented event? How to reassure Earth’s inhabitants, who are prone to panic, when you have no previous experience to draw upon?
The Visit is definitely a unique approach to the idea of an alien invasion movie—you can see why it should fit well at Sundance—and this trailer is weirdly intense for a movie that only wonders about what such an incursion would look like. But it also poses serious questions, like how we will react, and what all of this means. Will the visitors know anything about us, have they studied us? Do we tell them everything about ourselves, the good with the bad? What will there intentions be? Are they invaders or simply popping in to say hello?
Beautiful cinematography mixes with interviews with various government officials, experts, and members of the general populace, and the end result looks to be something wholly distinctive and unlike anything you’ve encountered before. If nothing else, it impressed enough people to get the invite to Sundance, which has become increasingly difficult as the profile of the festival continues to rise. We’ll have to see how the film is received there, but if it gains traction, hopefully we’ll hear a real release date sometime shortly thereafter.