08 May 2015



Working Title:
Forest Fire

USA, 2015
Director: Robert Conway


The alien abduction subgenre is in a massive crisis (just like the exorcism subgenre), due to a decades-long overuse of the same old alien abduction clichés, such as grey human-like aliens, lights from above, people getting sucked into flying saucers via beams of light etc. etc. Ok, exceptions prove the rule. Several films like "The Fourth Kind" or "Dark Skies" had enough atmosphere and originality going on, and also managed to entertain, as well as to creep the shit out of the viewer.

Yet, aside from these examples, recent stuff like "The Device" or "Alien Abduction" failed to achieve on the levels of originality, entertainment and creepiness - and "The Encounter" makes no exception. The third feature of indie director Robert Conway ("Exit to Hell") is a trite paint-by-numbers piece of
alien-boredom, following three groups of people who all experience encounters of the third kind.

"The Encounter" suffers from many, many problems: the characters are either bland, stupid or super-annoying. Most of the acting is poor, incl. a few really cringeworthy performances. The pacing is all over the place, at times way too fast, at times way too slow - and when it's slow, it's reeeaaally slow.

As an avid fan of found footage, I had no problem with the shaky cam or several grainy images, but the fact that it feels as if filmed with thousands of different cameras constantly took me outta the movie. Even worse, it doesn't matter which found footage cliché you're looking for, it's all in there: night vision, mockumentary-like sequences, stock/archive footage, blurry/grainy/out-of-focus images, people filming nearly everything the entire time for no apparent reason, people talking to the camera Blair-Witch-style, open ending etc. etc. ad. inf. I've seen it all millions of times before and it's getting damn fucking boring!

Okay, there are a few mildly suspenseful scenes and some decently eerie moments, most of the low-budget special effects look surprisingly awesome, and I loved the segment where we get to see a park ranger getting infected with some alien goo and undergoing a horrible transformation. Other than that,
"The Encounter" is nothing I'd recommend.

Thanks to Ashleigh Davies and Clint Morris for the screeener!

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