It’s movie night again and what I was told about this movie was that it was ‘Blair Witch with Aliens’. To be honest, that was enough for me. That sounded really interesting until it was pointed out that this film had such low ratings. Apparently, it’s because this film has been dubbed ‘Blair Witch with Aliens’ that people don’t like it.
But ‘Blair Witch with Aliens’ is a pretty apt comparison and I think I know why this film was so poorly received. But first, let’s look at the plot.
‘Hangar 10’ centres around three friends, Jake (Danny Shayler), Sally (Abbie Salt) and Gus (Robert Curtis). Gus and Sally are a couple and decide to go ‘metal-detecting’ in Suffolk, England. They bring along their friend and videographer, Jake to document what they find. Whilst out ‘detecting’, they decide to have a wander around Rendlesham Forest which was the location of some mysterious sightings in the 1980’s and also a military base that was occupied by the US Air Force.
During the night, the trio see mysterious lights and even UFO’s and as they begin to become concerned for their safety, they become unable to find their way out of the forest.
So, there are a lot of similarities to ‘Hangar 10’ and ‘The Blair Witch Project’ instantly. Both films have three main cast members, their both ‘found footage’, they both have their main characters enter a spooky forest to search for any evidence ‘other-worldly’ activity and both end about as well as you’d expect.
They’re also both really low budget with this 87-minute feature being filmed over the course of three and a half years.
I think the first place where ‘Hangar 10’ went wrong was not immediately centring itself around ‘The Rendlesham UFO Incident’ which is also the name of the film outside of the US but both names are problematic because neither are immediately representative of the film’s contents. If we’re going with ‘Hangar 10’, then the location doesn’t become relevant until the end and as for ‘The Rendlesham UFO Incident’, that’s only mentioned once to lay out the framework that we’re dealing with aliens.
With ‘The Blair Witch Project’, Heather, Josh and Mike were in the forest to actively hunt for evidence of the infamous ‘Blair Witch’ which is already interesting whilst in ‘Hangar 10’, Jake, Sally and Gus are looking through a field with metal detectors which to me is such a boring hobby that having to do so is something I would consider to be my own personal hell. Sure, the end up finding bullets and as the poster would suggest, the aliens set off the detector.
I also don’t feel anything about these characters. The script for ‘Hangar 10’ was co-written by the film’s director, Daniel Simpson and Adam Prescott. This is the first feature length script writing venture for Prescott according to IMDB but not for Simpson who had another feature length release four years previous with ‘Spiderhole’. That was rated slightly higher than ‘Hangar 10’. But not by much.
I’m going to try and not be mean because I’m not about to shit all over someone for trying to make a film just because it’s not what I expected it to be.
If we’re still comparing this to ‘The Blair Witch Project’ then there’s another thing that ‘Hangar 10’ didn’t take from it and that’s learning what to show and what not to show.
What made ‘The Blair Witch Project’ so scary was that we never saw the witch. Since the makers had gone to great lengths to make it look like the events of the film really happened, and so when there are no special effects or not seeing the threat at all, it added to theory that what the audience were watching was something that genuinely happened.
On the flip side, ‘Hangar 10’ is fully aware that it has to show something and I’ve read reviews that bash the film for it’s VFX but I’ll tell you something, for a low budget production, the effects weren’t bad. I’ve seen films that had a larger budget and all the opportunities in the world with less convincing VFX (Cell) so that’s a criticism I don’t buy into.
If we’re comparing endings, then the two couldn’t be more different. It’s the same as in one member of the trio goes missing (Josh in ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and Gus in ‘Hangar 10’) and the other two go off in search of them which leads to the final confrontation. In ‘The Blair Witch Project’, it’s the Griggs House and in ‘Hangar 10’, Sally and Jake end up on an abandoned military base that once house the US Air Force. I’m guessing this location was to mirror RAF Woodbridge which is a real place near Rendlesham Forest and also where a number of these sightings have occurred. It’s known as ‘Britain’s Roswell’.
Anyway, by this time, we’ve already seen some sketchy lights and a spaceship or two and this base that was meant to be abandoned is filled with dead people that are presumably victims of the aliens. Gus is found here and he’s very dead.
The film ends with the two watching UFO’s outside and Sally is either incapacitated or killed and Jake takes his shirt off, stands on top of a hill with his arms raised and then disappears.
My main contention with this film is that it’s not scary. For the entire third act, all I could think was, ‘Why are they still filming this?’. In ‘The Blair Witch Project’, they were documenting supernatural activity so it was understandable that they film the scary things that were happening to them but in ‘Hangar 10’, once one of them went missing and they entered a top secret military base where some serious shit has clearly gone down and they should have their wits about them in case they’re pounced on by the aliens that may or may not have been there, that is not the time to be dicking around with a camera.
I know what you’re thinking and no, there are no aliens in the film and to be honest, that’s probably for the best. Lights are fine and ships are fine but no aliens because that would turn a non-scary alien film into a funny non-scary film.
Overall, ‘Hangar 10’ had some good ideas but I think it was influenced a little too heavily by ‘The Blair Witch Project’ which may have set the standard for ‘found footage’ films but there’s an ‘influence’ and then there’s ‘blatant rip off’.
Follow me on Twitter – @rustysoapbox
Or on Instagram – tessawhitham1994