Oh, where to begin? Well, let's meet our protagonists. We have what I'm calling the Prime protagonist; a vlogger. We then have his boyfriend, his sister, and his sister's boyfriend. While I appreciate that none of these characters fit any stereotype or trope (there's no brainless blonde or macho jock for example) this unfortunately leaves them with very little personality. While this works well for selling them as the 'average' people, it doesn't give much room to hang your hat on.
So our little foursome is taking a camping trip in the woods together because--uh--oh look, a bird! Naturally, being a vlogger, our Prime wants to record everything. Well, thank god for him, otherwise we would have missed the thrilling unpacking, hiking, crashing the drone, etc. Seriously, the whole camping section of the movie feels mostly like filler material. Yes, I know it's supposed to set up the premiseconflict; but they could have just as easily seen the lights in the sky from their backyard and cut out the middle-man. Oh yes, our group spots strange lights in the sky while they're camping. Of course, being the coolest thing ever for his vlog, our vlogger decides to film it off-center while breaking to get close-ups of his friends. After the next night (I think?) they find stacks of rocks piled up outside their tents. They film this as evidence of the 'aliensufos' despite the fact that it proves absolutely nothing to the vlog audience, as they could have done it themselves in the night.
Well, back to our daily lives of---constantly being in the same house together. I know that two are siblings but the boyfriends seem to almost be living there. Since we're told that at least two characters are only 17, this is a bit questionable (as is their talk about making a sex tape). So our Prime uploads the videos and strange things start happening. He's contacted on a Skype-stand-in and warned that he's now brought himself to 'their' attention and they 'don't want these things discussed'. Of course the Skype guy contacts him without the program offering "This person wants to contact you, will you accept?" Then our group gets a visit from the Men In Black (No, not Will Smith or Chris Hemsworth).
This is where the movie really starts falling apart. The problem falls into the 'suspension of disbelief' category. Want to do aliens? Fine, audiences don't mind that. Want to do a conspiracy film? Okay, you can get away with it, provided you do it well. But this whole MIB plot angle is a mess. First. Why would they care? Your video proves nothing! It's lights in the sky! We see those on news reports for God's sake! Our un-named (and un-explained!) Skype person says the MIB doesn't want these things discussed. Really? Better shut down all of YouTube then! Seriously, go search for 'UFO footage' or 'crypitds', 'aliens', 'bigfoot', etc, and see how many results you get. You could spend the next few years sorting through them. But yeah, your blurry footage of lights is just so amazingly undeniable it warrants the MIB's attention----right.
At this point the movie veers more into a conspiracy film where "They're everywhere!" Um, again--why? They're expanding massive resources just because you're so super special awesome? The cops can't even follow murderers around 247, but these guys will follow all four of you around all the time? Well, we went to the police, but then we saw the MIB with the police! Well, we tried one thing and we're all out of ideas! Better hole up in our house and complain about it! Evidently all the power of the Secret Government can be stopped by a locked door!
So, more weird things happen. Our protagonists lose time, find implants in their bodies, see mysterious balls of light, and hear each other screaming when they are actually asleep. But the real icing on the cake? They're in their basementlaundry area and they hear a radio (and its coming from inside the house!) They discover that there is a false wall in their basementlaundry with a mysterious set-up. Well, good thing mom and dad left that running while they were on vacation. Or did the aliens turn it on? OOOH (Cue X-files theme). It's also nice that we've never noticed it our entire lives. So we're shown a video of the brother and sister being taken to a (hanger?) as children where they see an alien. This was somewhat alluded to by the Skype person earlier. "I know you don't remember a portion of your life" or something to that affect. Well---then how does Skype-guy? This isn't a case where either sibling notices a huge chunk of their lives were gone, they don't remember not-remembering! The sister says she had some vague memories of it, but chalked it up to bad dreams. But don't worry, these tapes aren't explained. Neither is Skype-Indrid, or how he knows about anything.
The movie rushes headlong into any ending it can find---the end. Oh wait, forgot to mention our titular bookends. Apparently this whole thing is some underground rebellion posting it to "expose the truth". "We're hiding from the government---but feel free to browse our website's gift shop!" It's really weird and out of place. Honestly it seems tacked on to provide the movie a title. It's as if they couldn't think of a title and when the found one they just added these bookends to help it make sense. We're told that our protagonists disappeared and that no reports have been filed and that they're families are also missing. How do you know? No reports have been filed! Assuming that each protagonist had two parents--that's 12 people you're having to cover up. Plus their bosses, co-workers, friends, they're families....that's a lot of work for some blurry lights and a few rocks.
Final thoughts: Meh. The acting could have been worse, but it could have been better too. The vlogger's boyfriend is a little wooden at times "I'm so scared" he said as he tried to stay conscious during the line read. The rest are mostly fine given what they have to work with. Special affects (if you call light a special affect) are what you'd expect for 'made for a dollar' level. While I know its a staple of the 'found-footage' and 'vlog-entry' films, the constant cut-to-black in between sequences got a bit old. I know it's showing that these are entries, but I felt like I was having a stroke. Sometimes they only last for two minutes at a time, so it gets old real quick. Like Shadowhunters I did appreciate gay characters that weren't portrayed as 'Ew, a bug!' and that they're relationship was never brought up as objectionable to any other party. At its core, its only slightly better than the amateur movies people make on YouTube. It won't destroy your brain, but you may find yourself playing a phone-game during certain parts.
Review by df4205 from the Internet Movie Database.