Super 8 is a science fiction film written and directed by J. J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film, starring Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, and Kyle Chandler, was released on June 10, 2011 in conventional and IMAX theaters.
In 1979, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), a 13-year-old boy living in the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio, located near Dayton, has lost his mother in a factory accident. Louis Dainard (Ron Eldard) comes to the wake, but Joe's father, Deputy Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler), blames Dainard for his wife's death since she stayed to cover his shift at the factory while Dainard was drunk, and takes Dainard away in handcuffs. Four months later, Joe's friend Charles Kaznyk (Riley Griffiths) hires Dainard's daughter Alice (Elle Fanning) to be the protagonist's wife in his low budget zombie movie on Super 8 film. Alice steals her father's car and takes Joe, Charles, Preston (Zach Mills), Martin (Gabriel Basso), and Cary (Ryan Lee) to an old train depot in order for the group to film a scene. During the shoot, Joe witnesses a pick-up truck drive onto the tracks towards an oncoming train, which causes a massive derailment. Recovering from the accident, the kids find the wreck littered with strange white cubes. The kids approach the truck and discover Dr. Woodward (Glynn Turman), their biology teacher, behind the wheel of the truck. He instructs them to never talk about what they saw. Otherwise, he warns, they and their parents will be killed. Moments afterwards, the U.S. Air Force, led by Colonel Nelec (Noah Emmerich), arrives to secure the crash site while the kids flee, unseen with one of the cubes. For the next couple of days strange phenomena begins occuring including pets running miles away, kitchen appliances, car engines, and power lines disappearing, and the violent disappearances of the sheriff, a gas station attendent, and various others. Despite their traumatic experience Charles insists that the group keep filming his movie and writes Alice a few more scenes thus unintentionally bringing Alice and Joe closer together, both of their fathers notice this and forbid them from seeing each other. Defying her father, Alice visits Joe in his room one night and the two talk about the factory accident with Alice tearfully wishing that it was her own father who would have died instead of Joe's mother, during this conversation the cube Joe brought home from the train wreck begins to shake violently and flies through the wall and sticks to the nearby water tower. The next day the Air Force deliberately starts a wildfire outside of town. This gives them a pretext to evacuate the entire town to the local Air Force base. Before they are evacuated Charles and Joe pick up the footage of the derailment from the camera shop and while watching it the two see a monstrous figure at the end. At the base, Joe finds Dainard, who tells him that a creature abducted Alice. Joe, Charles, Cary, and Martin sneak back into town and head to their school, where they break into Woodward's stash of confiscated items, thinking he may have hidden in the stash documentation about the creature that might help them save Alice. In the papers, film, and audio recordings found, they discover that the government imprisoned an extraterrestrial (Bruce Greenwood) that crashed on Earth in 1958. The alien only wished to rebuild its ship using the shapeshifting white cubes, and return home, but was instead imprisoned and tortured by the Air Force in order to learn from the creature's advanced technology and intellect. One film shows Woodward, a researcher at the time, being attacked by the alien. This physical contact caused him to form a telepathic bond with the alien, through which he learned that it only wanted to go home. By colliding with the train, he hoped to free the alien. Colonel Nelec and his men storm the school and capture the boys. They place the children on a security bus and head back to the Air Force base but are attacked by the alien on the way. Nelec and his men are killed while Joe and his friends escape. The kids head through the town, which is now under heavy fire from malfunctioning military equipment as the military attempts to battle the alien. While this is happening, Martin breaks his leg when a shell hits the house they are in. Charles tends to him, and Joe and Cary are forced to continue without them. They find the alien's subterranean lair near the cemetery where Joe's mother is buried, along with missing people who have been trapped there by the alien. While Cary creates a diversion with fireworks, Joe manages to rescue Alice, the sheriff, and an unnamed woman, but as they make their escape, the alien kills the adults and corners Alice, Cary, and Joe. The alien grabs Joe, who convinces the creature that it can still live. The alien, through its tactile telepathic ability, understands and lets go of Joe, allowing him and his friends to escape. Shortly after, all the cubes as well as loose metal from around the town are attracted to the water tower. The cubes begin to align and a ship begins to take form around the town's water tower. Joe's metal locket, which contains a baby picture of him with his mother, is also sucked upwards and, after a moment, he decides to let it go. After this, the locket completes the pile and everyone watches as the ship takes off toward space. During the end credits, the full movie that Charles and his friends were working on, titled The Case, is shown with an epilogue featuring Charles pleading the film festival judges to select his movie before being attacked by Alice as a zombie.