Initially they do seize on a compelling dramatic idea. In the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio, in the late seventies, a group of young friends gather to make a Super 8 zombie movie. Living in their small industrial town, the only cultural feeding ground for these kids is the playground of pop music, television and horror films. There is a shaggy dog thrill they get from testing their loyalties and smarts (not to mention, their raging hormones) by acting them out in their low-budget monster extravaganza.(I also spent my teenage years in the small industrial city of Oshawa, Ontario, doing super 8 horror films with my friends.).
When they attempt to get 'production values' on the cheap by shooting a love scene one night at an abandoned train station, these budding artists get more than they bargained for when they witness – and film – a train derailment. They also discover that it was no ordinary train wreck. But rather than going on to explore how these eager filmmakers use their amateur craft to uncover a possible military conspiracy, Abrams takes leave for his own cultural feeding ground: Spielbergland. In creating a tribute to his film idol, Abrams ends up however denying himself an identity.