(director/writer: Jefferson Moneo; cinematographer: Vlad Horodinca; editor: Fabiola Caraza; music: Alan Howarth; cast: Camille Rowe (Aurora), Joshua Burge (Tom),John Boylan (Frank), Philip Granger (Dieter), Antonia Zegers (Elys), Emmanuelle Chriq (Natalie), Amy Matysio (Iris), Vickie Papavs (Aunt Caroline), William Sanders (Professor), Rachel Pellinen (Young Aurora), Miho Suzuki (Mizuki); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Brian Robertson, Mark Raso, Joseph Raso, Jefferson Moneo: Cranked Up Films/Fidelio; 2022-Canada)
“A bizarre UFO story based on a true story.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The title is a term used in astronomy that refers to the furthest point back where one can see into the history of the universe.
The film is a bizarre UFO story based on a true story. It’s an alien abduction movie that plays out as a campy cult thriller. It‘s unevenly written and directed by Jefferson Moneo (“Big Muddy”), nevertheless is watchable because it’s only eerie and not full blast gonzo. What caught my attention is Moneo based the film on an extraterrestrial experience he encountered as a child and no one believed him.
In the opening scene, in 1997, the young Aurora (Rachel Pellinen) is camping with her mother during a lunar eclipse when something shiny appears in the sky, and thereby her Mom vanishes. It goes on from there in a nonlinear story that works best as a mystery story about the unknown and lets the viewer decide whether or not the alien abduction is a hoax or not.
Some ten years later after no one believes her and she’s forced by her negative Aunt Caroline (Vickie Papavs) to get therapy at a psychiatric hospital, the haunted young adult Aurora (Camille Rowe) wants answers as to what went down and where is her missing mother. She looks for those explanations in UFO books, as she regularly frequents the Equinox bookstore and befriends the genial UFO believer store owner Natalie (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Through Natalie, Aurora meets the charismatic leader of the Cosmic Dawn cult, Elyse (Antonia Zegers), who is all about following alien abduction tales and runs a club where every member was involved in some kind of alien abduction scene.
Feeling at home with the leader, Aurora joins her commune, located somewhere in northern Ontario.
Tension mounts as Aurora continues to search for answers, while the viewer sifts through the story trying to decide if they are believers in Aurora’s story or not.
After four years in the commune a disillusioned Aurora quits, but soon rejoins the commune after trying to live in society but finding herself more comfortable living with others who are like her.
Despite its low-budget, it had dazzling visuals, solid special effects, and the hypnotizing techno-pop tracks from the Grammy-winning MGMT, which gave it some good rock concert vibes. I walked away from the film feeling as I always do when hearing such tales, that it’s probably all in the head and before going any further I would need more scientific facts.
It’s not a bad alien abduction film. It works fine as a diversion. But it failed to move me from how I previously felt about such things, though I’m open-minded to the possibility of UFOs but highly skeptical that aliens are kidnappers (they just don’t fit the FBI profile).
REVIEWED ON 3/1/2022 GRADE: B-