Based on Whitley Streiber’s 1988 best-seller, Communion is about the author’s ”real-life” experiences with aliens. The story is simple: An eccentric writer with a small son experiences strange visions at his isolated upstate New York house. No, these are not waking dreams but actual visits from extraterrestrials who probe his brain and other more delicate parts of his anatomy.

It’s both a virtue and a flaw of the movie that Streiber, as played by Christopher Walken, seems at least as strange as the critters who descend upon him. He’s the only writer I know of who taps away at his computer while wearing a hat and photographing himself with a video camera. Yet Walken is riveting in the role, constantly surprising and unpredictable.

Why is it that all movie aliens look pretty much the same? The answer is that small minds think alike. Some of these visitors are of the Close Encounters variety, while the little blue men look like California Raisins. The outer space stuff is neither scary nor original, and the mystical claptrap at the end is downright irritating. Streiber describes how he was ”chosen”and why we must all be spiritually prepared for such exotic houseguests.

Communion could have worked on one level: as the odyssey of an intelligent man beset by something he cannot understand. But that idea goes against the touchy-feely ”communion” that this movie is preaching. C-

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