Film Review: Unidentified
Four guys head to Vegas to do a little gambling, but end up in some trouble in this found-footage sci-fi buddy film.
Reminiscent of The Hangover, but filmed largely in POV handheld shaky cam, the characters include an annoying, nerdy comic book vlogger, his boss, a guy with a gambling problem, and a guy who set the gambler up in an underground poker game. The vlogger was put in charge of filming the game for proof of Vegas shenanigans for a distrusting wife, which causes tension amongst the group and results in endless footage of driving and bickering.
After a stop at a UFO-themed diner, the crew decides to visit an abandoned military site where some paranormal events take place. This part of the film is intriguing, with images of a deserted, ominous landscape filled with crumbling buildings being overtaken by the desert elements. But it's quickly tossed aside for more driving footage and bickering.
The guys meet up with a threatening dude who has Mafia connections, and who is looking for money owed to him, and then they go to the underground poker game, which is awkward and offensive. They lose the game, of course, and have to escape the Mafia dude. Due to a GPS mishap, the crew end back up in the desert. Their car is struck by lightning, and they're stranded. The vlogger disappears, and they find him the next morning, somnambulant and covered in a black, noxious liquid.
Again, the film piqued my interest, and I'd rather not spoil it, but let's say some of the events that unfold involve an unusually large boil that's filled with more inky black fluid. Unidentified starts out as a cookie-cutter buddy adventure flick, but twists the 'found-footage' genre around into something simultaneously fresh and familiar.
A bleak, downbeat ending caused me to end up liking Unidentified, in spite of being held hostage by the characters' dislikable behavior for the first 3/4 of the film. If you watch Unidentified, take a Dramamine, as the camera rarely sits still, and really twists and twirls at the end.