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Review: The truth is out there in slick sci-fi 'Beyond the Sky'

Review: The truth is out there in slick sci-fi 'Beyond the Sky'
Jordan Hinson and Ryan Carnes in the movie "Beyond the Sky." (RLJE Films)

For those who miss “The X-Files,” the alien-abduction thriller “Beyond the Sky” is a polished pastiche of that cult classic TV series and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The film’s appealingly twisty and easy to watch — though it’s ultimately weighed down by a generic plot.

Ryan Carnes stars as Chris Norton, a documentary filmmaker on a personal mission to debunk any and all stories of UFOs and extraterrestrial visitations. Then he meets Emily (Jordan Hinson), a seemingly reasonable young lady who insists she’s been kidnapped by alien creatures every seven years since she was born.

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For roughly its first two-thirds, “Beyond the Sky” combines scenes of Norton making his movie with clips from the documentary itself. It’s like watching the prequel for a found-footage film, seeing what happens right before an intrepid movie crew goes missing.

In the final third, director Fulvio Sestito gets to flex his stylistic muscles a bit, as Emily turns 28, and she and Chris find out the truth about what’s been happening to her. Well-constructed action sequences and impressive special effects almost make up for the movie’s sluggish first hour.

“Beyond the Sky” features fun cameos from “E.T.” star Dee Wallace and accomplished character actors Don Stark and Peter Stormare, but their offbeat energy is only a reminder of how staid too much of the rest of the picture is. A movie about outer space needs more awe.

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‘Beyond the Sky’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Playing: Starts Sept. 21, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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