"Paranormal Activity" is one of the most impressive theatrical releases of the year, what with its miniscule budget and still-rapidly-climbing box office performance. As a result, everyone has been all sorts of curious to hear more about director Oren Peli's next project, titled "Area 51."
Peli has been adamant in his refusal to share any details about the movie, which is described as another "found footage" effort in the vein of "Paranormal." In the two times I've interviewed him, I don't even think he repeated the title; every question on the subject is greeted with a "no comment." Now, the first details have come to light. I hesitate to even post about it, since it falls into the realm of "leak." Needless to say, tread carefully, readers... spoilers lie ahead.
The details come to us via Latino Review. One of their "trusted sources" -- I believe it, given the site's track record -- got to look over a script/story outline for "Area 51," dated September 2009. The writer does a fair bit of editorializing, so prepare to have your opinions colored if you decide to read it from the source. My goal here is to provide a dry description for those who are curious to know how Peli intends to approach his "Paranormal" follow-up.
Let the spoilers begin... you have been warned.
The story will follow four friends: geek and apparent ringleader Chris, skeptic Paul, follower Rob and Natalie, whose father claims to have been adbucted by aliens. The story gets underway when the group makes their way to Las Vegas, where they meet up with a former Area 51 employee who shares what he knows of the facility and the security measures in place there. What he wants is video proof of the extraterrestrial(s) being held there, a rumor he never confirmed during his tenure.
The group does some additional investigative work, uncovering more details about the base's security systems. Protective measures that include "motion detectors, thermal imaging, ammonia detectors, armed guards, as well as 'ray guns.'" That's where the script details end. The tipster does mention that the outline reads much like the "Paranormal" script probably did, as "a scene-by-scene breakdown with a list of various props, actors, and the general interactions between the actors and their surroundings."
There are no real surprises here. It's mostly just the setup for the "group of friends investigating Area 51" detail revealed a few weeks ago. I was excited about the movie before and I'm still excited. As Peli proved with "Paranormal," the joy lies in the execution rather than the setup. And if his debut effort is any indication, fans will be pleased when "Area 51" eventually does hit theaters.