There's nothing like a good midnight screening of an alien abduction flick to really get your film festival off to a good start, so when I saw Fredrick Wolcott's Beings on the schedule, I knew I wanted to check it out. The film was preceded by a fun little short called Coming to Town, which is about two Santas -- a naughty one and a nice one. The nice one is the jolly old St. Nick we know and love; the naughty one drives an old, beat up car while chugging booze from the bottle, accompanied by a grungy drunkard of an elf and a violent, nasty little leprechaun. Naughty Santa has come to answer a plea for revenge from a chubby girl who's being bullied, and the result is darkly hilarious.
Then we settled in for Beings, which was preceded by a warning that the film could cause seizures in people with epilepsy and severe vertigo for the rest of us -- and the warning didn't lie. The first ten minutes or so of the film, I started to feel dizzy and nauseated just from the motion and flashing on the screen. The premise of the film is that a UFO has crashed in a sea in Russian territory. The spaceship was equipped with video surveillance equipment throughout the ship, and Russian scientists have been able to restore video footage from the alien vessel (in a handy plot twist, the aliens used video technology surprisingly similar to our own).
The footage the scientists retrieve is terribly disturbing -- so bad that the Russian government decides to share it with the president of the United States. It shows four young college students, two male and two female, who have been abducted and held aboard the ship, being subjected to experimentation by the aliens. From this point, the point of view of the film shifts to the retrieved footage, so that we are watching the events unfold from the aliens' perspective.