In the pantheon of found footage movies, Case 347 goes a slightly different route than the countless other horror films seeking your attention. The film, written and directed by Chris Wax, is more of a slow-burn sci-fi thriller about alien abductions, with a focus on characterizations. There are no randomly appearing ghosts, and the movie does not hold the audience’s hands to waltz them through an explanation of everything they just witnessed. In other words, it is a somewhat unique spin on the genre that will reward patient viewers with an engaging and exciting story.
Dr. Mia Jansen (Maya Stojan) is awarded a grant for a clinical psychology study. She will be researching and interviewing people who believe they have been visited, seen, or abducted by extraterrestrials. For a few reasons, she decides to film both her interviews and her research sessions. Heading to, where else, Roswell, New Mexico with Charlie (Chris Wax) and Rex (Jason Kropik), who will be helping her with the research and filming, Mia returns to her childhood home.
“…the trio meet abductees…interview a local family…(Mia) realizes she, and her friends may be in grave danger.”
Her dad, presumably dead years ago, became convinced he saw aliens and warned Mia never to return. As the trio meet abductees such as Rod (Johnny Dowers) and interview a local family about unexplainable happenings in their home, Mia realizes she, and her friends may be in grave danger. An encounter with a little girl on the side of the road and strange rings in the sky do nothing to dissuade them from the general sense of unease permeating their entire trip. Are extraterrestrials real? Or are Mia, Charlie, and Rex all sharing a delusion based on the research and interviews?
Wax’s screenplay gives the characters room to breathe, relax, and process the various strange happenings they encounter on their journey. At a diner, they are confronted by a local who threatens them, by name, to leave their project behind and go back to California. The protagonists are baffled because this man is a complete stranger, so the fact he knows their names and what they are working on freaks them out. Instead of rushing to another set-piece, the next scene is them being confused and reacting to the guy at the restaurant. Case 347 is filled with little moments like this, which grounds the film itself and authentically humanizes the trio.
This established relatability is vital to the film’s success. It is empathizing with and being scared for everyone that hooks the audience in. The strangeness begins with small things, but as unusual events escalate and become harder to explain, it is the viewer’s want for everyone to remain safe that transfixes them to the screen.
"…goes a slightly different route than the countless other horror films seeking your attention."