An immersive movie transports me to an alien abduction and aims to draw attention to the torment of laboratory animals. Does it succeed?
In a seven-minute 180-degree video, Abduction shows how three friends are captured and tortured by an advanced species. Experiments are performed on them against their will in dark laboratories. Peta wants to change the perspective and put us in the role of the lab animals.
Abduction was recently made available for Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro for free via Oculus TV. I watched the short movie and describe to you how it feels.
Torn from life
I’m sitting in the backseat of some friends’ car. They suspect a helicopter in the sky and joke about an alien attack. A few seconds later, it becomes reality. There are some flashes, I hear strange noises, and it gets dark.
I slowly come to consciousness in a dark room and see my friends unconscious on two layers wrapped in silver foil. In front of me is a man in a black robe. No, wait. This is not human. More of these beings come and go, manipulating my friends.
My feet move, making the foil I am wrapped in rustle. The creature turns around, comes closer and holds a glowing stick in front of my eyes. I lose consciousness again. A short time later I wake up in another room.
Helplessly at the mercy
I see my friend in a glass tank. She is naked and has wounds all over her body. White liquid was coming out of her mouth and she seemed to be unconscious. They opened the tank and took her out. As she is being led away, one of the creatures brings my other friend into the room. He is led into the tank with a bar around his neck.
Naked and panicked, he screams for his life as gas pours into the tank. He doubled over in bread. Foam comes out of his mouth. He was banging on the window, looking at me pleadingly. I want to help him, but one of the creatures turns and sticks the glow stick in my face again. I fall asleep.
I come to in a small cell. My friends are lying naked on the floor in front of me. They are huddled together, clutching each other. Their skin is full of dirt and furrows. They were shivering on the cold floor.
One of the creatures approached the bars of the cell. My friends flee into the corners in fear as the creature approaches. Darkness falls again. From now on, for the rest of our lives, my friends and I will suffer the same tortures.
Petas Abduction: Does the movie achieve what it sets out to do?
Without understanding what is going on, innocent sentient creatures are taken from their natural environment by a supposedly more advanced species and subjected to cruel tests. This is animal testing – or, as you would call it with humans, kidnapping, and torture.
This is the connection that Abduction wants to make. To raise awareness of what it’s like for animals to be taken into laboratories. I can understand why PETA chose to stage an alien abduction of humans to do this. Unfortunately, it’s not very effective.
This scenario has been used countless times in pop culture and is so hackneyed that it will be difficult for many people to make the connection to the real issue of animal experimentation and animal suffering. If the credits didn’t give it away, I wouldn’t know that the makers of the movie wanted to draw attention to animal suffering. Instead, the whole thing feels like the average VR horror movie.
Outside of virtual reality, Peta relies on shocking images and reports. In VR headsets, which have the ability to immerse people in the action, they prefer to go the soft-pedal route of a trashy B-movie. Too bad. More could have been done here.
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