A filmmaker’s attempt to disprove the idea of alien abduction doesn’t go as planned in the feature film debut of Fulvio Sestito.
When he was seven years old, Chris Norton witnessed a fight between his parents and his mother disappeared. His father is convinced that his mother was abducted by aliens. However, Chris refuses to believe it. Now a documentary filmmaker, Chris decides to make a film to disprove alien abduction. However, when he embarks upon a small town that believes in all of the alien abducting, perhaps to provide more tourism for their town.
While Chris remains skeptical, he meets Emily Reed at a meeting where people claim to have been abducted. Emily is the only one who lays claims to having been abducted multiple times, every seven years to be exact. With her 28th birthday approaching, she is aware she is going to be abducted again and this time, invited Chris to join her. At first, Chris holds his stance. That is, until weird things around him begin to happen that prove to be impossible. Will Chris be convinced, or will he continue his attempt to disprove the theory of alien abduction.
First-time Fulvio Sestito has brought a very interesting story that may scream “found footage”, but is, no pun intended, beyond that. There are a few beats of found footage in the film, when we see what Chris and his crew have recorded. However, the film is more of a straightforward film about a filmmaker’s attempt to disprove the theory of alien abduction and gets more than what he bargains for. The screenplay by Rob Warren Thomas and Marc Porterfield meshes some found footage and the narrative structure well thanks to Sestito’s direction.
Ryan Carnes brings quite an interesting performance as skeptical filmmaker Chris Norton, who is convinced that at the age of seven, his mother just up and left. Yet, when he hears the story of his mother being abducted by aliens, Chris refuses to believe it. Carnes brings that skeptical nature to good use until he meets Emily, wonderfully played by Jordan Hinson. Hinson plays Emily as a woman who has claimed to have been abducted three times, every seven years on her birthday. Emily’s futile attempts to convince Ryan are the driving force of the story and it soon becomes clear to him that maybe she may not be as crazy as she seems to be.
In a wonderful cameo appearance, Peter Stormare makes the most of it as Chris’ father, who like Emily, believes in alien abduction and during an interview, tells his side of what had happened and how it has affected Chris. Claude Duhamel’s Brent is Ryan’s cameraman who is also skeptical at first, until weird things begin happening and he becomes both stunned and curious. Don Stark and Dee Wallace make the most of their appearances as local townsfolk who not only believe in the idea of aliens but take advantage of it by making their small town a tourist attraction that capitalizes on aliens.
Beyond the Sky takes a different approach to the idea of combining narrative and found footage and instead of a boring horror film, the film is more of a sophisticated sci-fi indie film. Kudos to Fulvio Sestito for making this his directorial debut.
WFG RATING: B+
RLJE Films present an Elysian Fields Entertainment production. Director: Fulvio Sestito. Producers: Rebecca Berrih, Evan Cholfin, and Marc Loven. Writers: Marc Porterfield and Rob Warren Thomas; story by Thomas, Rebecca Berrih, and Fulvio Sestito. Cinematography: Chris Saul. Editing: Richard Nord and Zach Scott.
Cast: Ryan Carnes, Jordan Hinson, Claude Duhamel, Peter Stormare, Don Stark, Dee Wallace, Milton Chee, Martin Sensmeier, Jodie Bentley, Danielle Burgio, Travis Walton.
RLJE Films will release the film in limited theaters, Digital and VOD on September 21.