By: Josh Taylor
Have you ever stayed up late and turned on one of those UFO sighting specials on Discovery or Nat Geo? You probably have. I feel like we’ve all been there. UFO documentaries have been around a long time, and we’ve all seen a handful of them. They are all fairly formulaic. They get a group of experts together, and discuss the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. Maybe you get lucky, and hear someone tell their alien encounter story, while some actors recreate it. This style of doc has become a bit played out, and the UFO documentaries have taken a bit of a backseat. That could be due to many of us cutting cable tv, finding that our own planet has more to deal with than aliens, or maybe you are just waiting for Tom DeLonge to drop some serious truth bombs. Regardless, I’m happy to say that ON THE TRAIL OF UFOS: NIGHT VISITORS leaves behind most of the tropes of late night tv. ON THE TRAIL OF UFOS: NIGHT VISITORS is actually a follow up to the original On the Trail of UFOs from 2020. Hosted by Shannon Legro and filmmaker Seth Breedlove, this movie looks more specifically at the death of livestock in Colorado. They hear stories from farmers, police officers, and generally normal people in order to connect the mutilation of cattle and horses to possible extraterrestrial life. There is a really unique and sincere aspect to this film, creating human connections through anecdotal stories and historical references. As someone who was born and raised in Colorado, this was an interesting watch, as it wasn’t just interested in how UFOs were coming to the state, but why. They gave historical evidence dating back to the mining towns of the old west, and deconstructed Denver as a city that has plenty of military and national security facilities, making it a common target for UFO sightings. As each interviewee gave their story, Legro would give a larger explanation, making sure that this wasn’t seen as just an anecdotal story. As a host, she lends so much to this documentary. Rarely does she interject her own bias, giving the viewer someone to connect to regardless of what they think about alien life. As a viewer, it would be really easy to write off some of the interviewees as crazy, but because Legro treats them with such respect (as does Breedlove) I go along with it.
The way this film is shot also differentiates it from other UFO documentaries. This film has its fair share of talking heads, but it also features beautiful shots of Colorado, leading you into forested areas, mountains, plains, and city life. In that way, it feels more like a Bigfoot documentary than an alien documentary because we are truly on the trail trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. (Bigfoot is something this crew has tackled previously.) Credit to the crew for keeping this documentary on track as well. It would be easy to just talk about general UFO sightings or alien encounters, but ON THE TRAIL OF UFOS: NIGHT VISITORS doesn’t leave behind the fact that their story stems from cattle mutilations that began in the 1960s. We learn about the first horse found dead, and the amount of cases reported each year in Colorado.
My biggest critique would be the large amount of visual shots which show dead animals. If seeing something like that makes you feel uneasy, I’d stay away from this film. Shots continue to pop up off and on throughout the 80-minute runtime. ON THE TRAIL OF UFOS: NIGHT VISITORS will be available on demand beginning April 5th, 2022.