Though not as popular (read: cheap to make) as their supernatural based brethren, alien abduction based found footage flicks have been around even before that hoary ol’ chest nut The Blair Witch Project. Don’t believe me? Check out 1989’s UFO Abduction: The McPherson Tape (here’s a link to make it easy for you…oh, you’re going to check it out now? Unorthodox, but I’ll wait…). Anyway where am I going with all of this? Damned if I know…oh, yeah…let’s take a look at the new alien-centric found footage fracas Conspiracy Theory (originally titled Lake on Fire)!
The crew of an Ancient Aliens rip-off (complete with it’s own wacky haired alien expert) titled Alien Engineers (it’s even on the Mystery Channel in case the reference wasn’t subtle enough) make their way to Las Vegas and Lake Mead to determine if aliens are indeed real. Along the way we are treated to all the greatest (s)hits the genre has to offer; meandering through the local scenery, faux interviews (though a few in here seem kinda legit), more meandering to pad the run0time, a synth score (yeah, there’s a score to a found footage film…I have no clue either), an overly long sequence featuring a song about anal sex (nope, no clue there either), even more talk of anal sex (seriously movie, what is your boggle?)…this goes on for over an hour (of the spartan hour and nineteen minute length of the film) before the weird goings-on (and the reason you would watch this in the first place begin) finally go down. Oh, and then the film closes with a song about anal sex (also of note; none of the anal sex mentioned copiously in this film has anything to do with alien probes, which would have at least made sense).
I will give the film this much; while the actors in most flicks of this ilk are rather unlikable; the gang of goofs on display here are at least somewhat entertaining. Also a plus is the change of local from a house or the woods; Vegas and Lake Mead at least provide for unique backdrops, and haven’t been done to death, and the television show angle was amusing for the most part. Also, the anal sex was a new wrinkle…
As for the negative; well if you’ve seen a found footage movie you’ve seen pretty much all of them. A small group of actors wander about, doing mundane (often tedious) tasks until some form of preternatural occurrence happens at the eleventh hour (most of which you don’t even see), then the film abruptly ends…and Conspiracy Theory is no different.
If you dig on found footage, alien abduction yarns, or Ancient Aliens you may get some enjoyment out of Conspiracy Theory, but for everyone else you could probably give this one a pass and not feel like you missed anything.