The film begins with a dim, out-of-focus corridor with machinery sounds and screams, an opening disposal chute, and the camera falling back to Earth where it is later recovered by the US Air Force. Information on-screen then reveals the recording is being used to review the footage for Project Blue Book.
Riley Morris keeps a video journal while on a family camping trip in Brown Mountain, North Carolina. On the last night of their trip, Riley is startled by flashes of light outside of the tent he shares with his older teenage brother and sister, Corey (Corey Eid) and Jillian (Jillian Clare). Riley wakes them and urges them to investigate. The siblings spot three distinct star-like objects in the sky which maneuver abruptly and vanish.
The following morning, while driving down the mountain en route to the highway, Riley's father, Peter (Peter Holden) is sidetracked when their GPS mysteriously misdirects them to an isolated route. Riley's mother, Katie (Katherine Sigismund), senses something is wrong when they lose their cellphone signals. The family starts to panic when Peter announces the car is running low on gas. A crow unexpectedly falls besides the car, dead.
They reach a tunnel thinking it will lead to the highway but see it is blocked with recently abandoned vehicles - including a police car. Peter, Corey and Riley leave their car to investigate the tunnel while Katie stays behind with Jillian. Personal belongings are scattered around some of the cars and it appears the missing occupants were forcefully removed from their vehicles, which troubles Riley. Peter—who is further ahead—sees a silhouette at the end of the tunnel and calls out. Upon realizing the non-human nature of the Alien approaching figure, Peter instructs Corey to escape with Riley while he attempts to create a diversion. Peter becomes the first to be abducted by the Aliens.
The boys return to the car with the women, explaining what happened. Suddenly a bundle of crows fall on their car, resulting in the car dying. They hear a blaring sound and run in fear. They retrace their route back to a cabin they recall passing. The cabin's owner, Sean (Jeff Bowser), is a rustic recluse who is armed and initially hostile towards the family. He changes his mind when he hears his guard dog being attacked by an alien that followed them from the tunnel. Sean and the family barricade themselves for the evening. Sean says that the Brown Mountain Lights and abductions have been a local recurrence for centuries. And, upon hearing a radio message from his missing brother, Sean goes out to fight the Aliens.
The cabin is eventually breached and in an effort to save his family, Corey hides the others in the cellar, blocking the door – he is, however, quickly abducted by the aliens. The remaining members of the family are soon saved by a returned Sean who takes them to his truck, planning to take them back to town down the mountain. His plan is a quick failure as the lights, and thus the aliens, find them and in a last effort attempt at saving the family, he tells them to head to a nearby barn and take refuge.
Sean mysteriously returns to them after a dramatic escape and the group, believing they're safe, attempt to leave the barn – Katie, however is killed and abducted, along with Sean. Riley and Jillian take refuge deep in the woods for the night, hiding in silence and in the dark from close-by aliens.
Climbing down the mountain at dawn, they see a town in the valley below and soon find a road they are confident will lead back to civilization but it leads back to the tunnel where their father was abducted, instead. Jillian collapses in despair, at the same moment a police car arrives (to search for the prior missing police car). It doesn’t take long for the aliens to abduct the policeman, Jillian, and Riley, who is still clinging to the camera – the remaining footage shows a rapid ascension into orbit, and an in-time repeat of the same footage from the beginning of the film. Two men in respirators and Hazmat suits are seen taking the camera away in a van from the US Air Force.
In a mid-credits scene, Peter Morris is found one year later by a North Carolina police officer. He is huddling on a bridge, naked, dishevelled and in a state of shock. The fate of the rest of the family is uncertain, though comments made by the police officer on his radio suggest that Peter is not the only member of the family to have been found.Katherine Sigismund as Katie Morris
Corey Eid as Corey Morris
Riley Polanski as Riley Morris
Jillian Clare as Jillian Morris
Jeff Bowser as Sean
Peter Holden as Peter Morris
Jordan Turchin as Officer James
Kelley Hinman as Park Ranger
Beckerman was inspired to create Alien Abduction while he was living in North Carolina and heard a local legend about how strange lights had been seen on a nearby mountain ridge and that people claimed to have been abducted while viewing them. He also drew inspiration from director Alfred Hitchcock and included a scene of several dozen birds as tribute to him. While working on the basic script, Beckerman and scriptwriter Robert Lewis wanted to have a valid rationale for Riley to continue filming even when things became dangerous, and they decided to use it as a coping mechanism for Riley after a psychologist informed Beckerman that he had previously treated an autistic child who videotaped everything that he did. Lewis completed the script prior to filming, but Beckerman chose to allow the actors to ad-lib their lines as a way of allowing them to get into character more easily. Filming took place in North Carolina in Burke County, Avery County, Watauga County, and Bryson City.
Critical reception for Alien Abduction has been negative; the film holds a rating of 47 on Metacritic (based on 9 reviews) and 25% on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 14 reviews). Common praise for the film centered upon Riley's use of his camcorder as a coping mechanism for an autistic boy, as reviewers felt that it gave a good rationale for Riley to continue filming "when any sane person would stop shooting and start running". Criticism for the movie centered upon what the reviewers saw as an overly generic plotline and an overabundance of jump scares.