March 29, 2023

Unidentified Objects is a film directed by Juan Felipe Zuleta and written by Leland Frankel. It stars Matthew August Jeffers in his feature-film debut and Golden Globe-nominee Sarah Hay (Flesh & Bone).

Matthew August Jeffers as Peter (Unidentified Objects)

Peter (Jeffers) is an angry recluse hiding out in his New York City apartment. His alien-obsessed neighbor, Winona, approaches Peter, desperate to borrow his car for her trek to Canada. Behind on his bills, Peter agrees to allow Winona to borrow his car. The impromptu road trip forces Peter out of his shell. Throughout the film we see the two grow as individuals and develop a beautiful friendship.

Sarah Hay as Winona (Unidentified Objects)

Representation Is the Forefront of the Film

Film has a long history of a lack of representation and respect for people that don’t fit society’s conventions of normality. Something that I really loved about Unidentified Objects, was seeing a little person in a lead role. Peter’s character was displayed respectfully allowing him to shine as an individual. Along with this representation, there were several displays of queer relationships and even sex work.

Matthew August Jeffers and Hamish Allan-Headley (Unidentified Objects)

Jeffers and Hay Shine

Each actor does a tremendous job bringing emotion and depth to their roles. Although the viewer is made aware of each character’s motivations for the trip, there is still a lot of mystery throughout the film. However, we can see this inner turmoil even without the use of dialogue. A lot remains mysterious throughout the film, but you still empathize with Peter and Winona, especially when you see them in turmoil.

Matthew August Jeffers and Hamish Allan-Headley (Unidentified Objects)

Soundtrack Works Perfectly

The analog synthesizer soundtrack by Sebastian Zuleta provided an amazing sci-fi feel and brought more depth to each scene. Songs by Perfume Genius and Roy Orbison also worked really well with their corresponding scenes.

Matthew August Jeffers as Peter (Unidentified Objects)

Visuals and Pacing

The environment plays a major role in the film’s atmosphere. The almost-empty roads and overwhelming forests visually encapsulate just how lonely the film’s two leads are. Although necessary, I feel like this also affected the pacing of the film, making it feel a bit slow and dragged out at times. The dream sequences in the film incorporate beautiful colors. On the other hand, there are times when the camera’s shakiness became distracting.

Unidentified Objects makes its Texas premiere at Fantastic Fest taking place in Austin, Texas from September 22-29, 2022.

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