Mount Adams is the second highest volcano in the state of Washington. It’s also allegedly the site of lights in the shy and other strange phenomena linked to UFOs. Which lets the makers of the film Mount Adams claim their movie is “Based On The True Phenomenon”. I don’t think I have to tell you that’s very loosely based on it at best.
Glen Craven (Tim Wade) and Lily Lantz (Emily Sweet, Castle Freak, Fear Pharm) are UFO investigators. Along with their cameraman Blake (Phillip Wade) and a few others they’re going to spend a few days on Mount Adams looking into reports of strange lights, disappearances and sightings of dinosaur-like creatures.
Once they reach the mountain they interview Richard (Edward Stiner, Wake Before I Die) who tells them to beware of any red lights they see in the sky. He also puts them in touch with Willie (Tom Avila) who says he can tell them where and when those lights will appear.
Mount Adams was shot back in 2016 and announced for release in 2019 according to the film’s Facebook page. Directed by Phillip Wade who co-wrote it with his brother and co-star Tim as well as Just B. Jordan. It’s their first feature and was apparently based on their short Timberline. They get the film off to a nice start with footage of creatures and spaceships on some alien planet. And for what’s obviously a low-budget film the effects aren’t bad. After that, though the film settles down into a lot of talky scenes.
Some of the witness interviews work, but several other scenes suffer from bad dialogue and acting. Much of the cast has limited to no experience and it shows at times with some very stiffly delivered dialogue. Even Emily Sweet, who is a good actress, is a bit hit and miss here. But, given when it was filmed Mount Adams would have been one of, or possibly her first, films.
Thankfully the filmmakers don’t let things stay bogged down for long. By about the thirty-minute mark the UFOs are back, and the Ranger (Greg James, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die) who was their guide turns up dead and a giant alien dragonfly is biting people. Can the lizard creatures be far behind?
We do get to see quite a bit of the three lizard creatures. They look to be CGI, but the filmmakers wisely make them mostly nocturnal so the dark can hide most of their flaws. When we finally see them in the light they’re much less impressive but still better than expected.
The script is equally uneven. It moves things along efficiently and mostly avoids the usual perils of low-budget science fiction. But it also has moments of extreme stupidity such as the park’s head ranger managing to get them lost. Or, after a night attack by the creatures, the team all go to sleep the next night with nobody on watch. We also never learn just what is going on. Where do these creatures come from and why? Are the lizards responsible for the UFOs, they don’t seem to be intelligent? Are they the equivalent of hunting dogs for the craft’s pilots?
In many ways, Mount Adams reminded me of some of the films I saw on TV back in the day. Films like The Alien Factor and Planet of the Dinosaurs. Made with more enthusiasm than money and often with much more concern for the effects than the plot. And, like them, as a simple monster movie, it makes a fun diversion.
Mount Adams is available to stream via SP Releasing.