03rd Jun2015

‘The Encounter’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Clint James, Owen Conway, Megan Drust, Eliza Kiss, Paulina Vallin, Louie Iaccarino, Dan Higgins, Monica Engesser, Pat Kaye, Chad T. Krolczyk | Written and Directed by Robert Conway


When Collin Bastrow is found in the forest, alone and afraid, he has a shocking story to tell. As he struggles to recount the events of the previous night his memories return in a series of horrific flashes of what became of his friends and fiancée. What started as a simple camping trip in the mountains of Northern Arizona quickly descended into an amazing and terrifying story that is truly out of this world. As the sole survivor of this deadly close encounter Collin must try and explain the unexplainable.

The Encounter is a found footage fest of frightening fear film! I may have gone a little overboard there, but to give you a clearer idea of what this film is about, I will tell you this: Aliens. Yep, The Encounter follows three groups of people as they wander into the wrong place at the wrong time near an alien crash site and have, well, not the best of times as a result. Of course, with every found footage film there are moments where you will find yourself shouting ‘PUT DOWN THE CAMERA AND RUN’ or something similar at the screen.

However, kudos to The Encounter for trying to (mostly) give reasons as to why the characters are filming so much. My particular favourite was the park ranger who runs a youtube channel (or something similar) about their job so therefore likes to film everything they do. Seemed perfectly realistic, fit in with the context of the film and allowed for one of the more gruesome and saddest scenes to be very successful.

For the most part, I liked The Encounter. Rarely do alien films succeed in being scary (the film Alien not included in that), but this one had some pretty good moments which got me on the edge of my seat. Two out of the three storylines in this film worked extremely well, I connected with the characters and was hooked on what they were up to. The third however, ironically following a film maker, seemed less realistic. Strange audio effects (apart from the deliberately strange audio effects) make it sound like one of the characters was recorded in a room and not outside like the rest of the characters, the wind and ‘outdoor sounds’ dropping out whenever they speak but starting again when people reply. Also, on a slightly unrelated note, if you have just woken up, you shouldn’t be wearing full make up. That was just a little annoying thing I noticed.

The Encounter is strangely paced as well. The scariest and most climactic part seems to happen somewhere around the middle, leaving for a slower and, at points, boring, finale. Put all that aside though and what it left is a successful found footage film which does what it sets off to do. Freaky alien scares. If that is what you are looking for, this might be one you want to check out.

The Encounter is out now on DVD and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment.


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