The teaser trailer for David Green’s Earth to Echo has landed, bringing with it a ragtag group of children dealing with the discovery of alien forces. The comparisons to Super 8, Chronicle, E.T. — and even a littele bit of The Goonies — are fairly easy to conjure. The PG-rated film follows a group of young boys who begin receiving mysterious text messages after a large construction site pops up near their homes. Naturally, since adults in nearly every children’s movie are horrible/parents just don’t understand, the kids’ concerns go ignored; they’re then forced to figure out what kind of horrible thing is happening in their hometown by themselves.
As seen in the trailer, what’s happening is that they find some kind of alien pod or egg that still contains a very alive alien creature inside. While the brief teaser doesn’t indicate if these are the nice kind of aliens or not, it’s apparent that their presence is going to have a profound impact on Earth. God, Mom and Dad; you could have at least pretended to pay attention when the kids told you they were getting weird texts from strangers at a construction site.
Yes, the film looks promising in its similarities to the smart and suspenseful Super 8, another film concerning children dealing with supernatural occurrences outside of their controls. But the part of Echo’s trailer that people should be talking about is the fact that it’s bringing the found footage film to the children’s movie.
That’s right, no longer relegated to paranoid dads wondering if there are demons messing with their houses and too-confident hikers deciding that they should totally check out this abandoned cave without telling anyone where they are, the found footage concept is now being hoisted upon boys discovering aliens in a construction site. It’s a perspective that could work well or fall flat, depending on its execution. Since the boys are frightened (and intrigued) by the texts and can’t get any help from their parents, they have to investigate the construction site themselves using the aid of a camera to document the whole thing, naturally. Since their parents don’t believe them before the exploration, they have to document their findings – otherwise, why would they believe them now (even the tagline is “no one would ever believe our story”)?
The found footage angle also indicates that something happens to the boys (or to the community, don’t think I didn’t see all that stuff levitating, Under the Dome-style), necessitating the footage be released, rather than they just tell the audience themselves what happened. Do they get abducted? Is there a war? Should I just wait for the full-length trailer?
As played-out as found footage might be at this point, thanks to the horror genre and its seemingly endless supply of people who think taunting the devil won’t have consequences everyone in Katie’s family from Paranormal Activity I’m looking at you, perhaps through the lens of a “child’s” camera, we’ll get a fresher perspective on the concept than we’ve had in awhile.