(On Cable TV, April 2014) I happened to see Earth to Echo, a found-footage Science-Fiction film for young teenagers, at the end of a week where I’d seen one other dull YA SF film and two other found-footage films. To say that I wasn’t well-predisposed toward yet another found-footage film or YA SF, would be an understatement. But there is a bit of charm running through Earth to Echo, enough so to forgive the clichés and trend-hopping. It’s about three young teenagers, spending their last day together tracking down a mysterious signal that has taken over their cell phones. The signal leads to relics that assemble to form something much more alien than they expected. Shot through a variety of cameras provided by one of the YouTube-addicted protagonists, Earth to Echo does manage to settle down into a nice narrative rhythm, as the young actors get more comfortable in the roles and the story gets a bit more urgent after the introduction of government agents running at cross-purposes with the group. It’s obviously aimed at younger teenagers (meaning that adults won’t find as much substance to chew on), but the film does manage to grasp the intense but ephemeral nature of teenage friendships, presents a preposterously cute owl-like alien creature, and director Dave Green occasionally builds rushes of adrenaline fit to forgive the generic and predictable plot. Earth to Echo doesn’t play too long at slightly less than 90 minutes. As Science Fiction, it’s basic… but as a small-scale thriller for younger teenagers, it certainly meets its objectives.