Few movies have frightened me more in the theater than Fire in the Sky. I was 13 years old when my dad took me to see this incredible alien abduction film, and we went opening night because I was so excited that an alien movie was coming out on the big screen. My fascination with UFO’s and extraterrestrials was in full swing, The X-Files would air its debut a few months later, and all I did was go to the library and read as many books about Area 51 that I could find. Directed by Robert Lieberman and written by Tracy Torme, the film is loosely based on the famous Travis Walton alien abduction story, and while the scenes on board the UFO in the film don’t necessarily jive with Walton’s personal account, few movies have shown a more terrifying surgery-by-ET than this film. Seriously – everything on board the ship is wholly gripping and rather haunting.
Shot on a limited budget but featuring absolutely stunning special effects work by Industrial Light and Magic, the scenes aboard the ship are simply extraordinary, and make up for the more pedestrian scenes set back on Earth. The excellent cast includes D.B. Sweeney as Walton, Robert Patrick as his best friend, Peter Berg, Craig Scheffer, Henry Thomas, Bradley Gregg, and James Garner as a crusty local cop trying to make sense of a situation that he absolutely believes is a hoax. Bill Pope’s fantastic cinematography made the film look five times as expensive as it probably was, and Mark Isham’s creepy music unsettles at nearly every turn. I don’t get scared by movies too often, but this one completely scared the shit out of me. Oh, and since 1993, I’ve never looked at maple syrup in quite the same way.
Review by Nick Clement