(director/writer: David M. Parks; cinematographer: Matt Macur; editors: Justin Kuhn, George Lambriodes; music: Frederick Shands; cast: Taryn Manning (Penelope), Sadie Katz (Nyla), Mike Ferguson (Steve Wilson), Augie Duke (Angela Wiltz), Shane Woodson (Richard Wiltz),James Di Giacomo (Adent Nelson),Jaime Zevallos (Agent Phillips), Jiaoying Summers (Agent Lin), Johnny Hickey (Agent), Jackson Everest (Paramedic), Joe Barlam (Sheriff Briggs), Kelsey Morgan Arnold (Young Angela Wiltz), Fre$h (Lionel), Erik Reedy (Officer); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Thomas Walton, David Lewis, Jared Safier, David M. Parks; Indie Rights/Prime Video; 2023

“Has a good heart.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A low-budget indie mystery sci-fi thriller written and directed with gusto by David M. Parks (“Deathly Desire”/”Heart for the Holidays”). It’s an unusual alien abduction film whose special effects could have been better, but its story rocked which overcame that fault. 

Flashbacks to 15 years ago show the wife of Richard Wiltz (Shane Woodson), Penelope (Taryn Manning), was abducted by a UFO while she was in a car accident, though Richard and their young daughter Angela (Kelsey Morgan Arnold) were also in the car but were not abducted.

After the bizarre alien incident is reported, the government covers it up. But Richard is left paralyzed in a wheel-chair. He now hosts a believer in aliens podcast called True Encounters. The podcast has only around 50 viewers, but still gets shut down by the government.

Meanwhile the depressed Richard turns to drink and fails to function properly as a father. He’s thereby detested by his daughter and loved only by his pet chihuahua called Buster and by his goofy and zealous Christian neighbor Steve (Mike Ferguson) who while trying to convert him also suspiciously looks after him.

When Buster gets sick, Richard thinks of killing himself. But his dead wife visits in a vision seen on his computer. This results in Buster regaining his health and Richard suddenly walking again. He has also received on his arm mysterious alien markings, which allows his wife to communicate with him and tell him where she can be located.
After Richard’s vision, his damaged relationship with his now young adult daughter (Augie Duke) is restored.

The film is amusing, has a clever script, the acting is decent and it has a good heart.

Its most serious scene shows a healthy exchange of ideas over conspiracy theories when father and daughter talk some deep shit that broadens the sci-fi plot to include social commentary on modern-day issues.
REVIEWED ON 12/27/2023  GRADE: B