• At any time of the day, a good movie with popcorn or beer is a welcome pleasure.

    The Encounter (2015): Movie Review

    "Just another typical horror film."

    The Encounter is a found-footage alien abduction/horror film by Robert Conway. The movie is up for an intriguing and interesting introduction. Paramilitary forces are engaging in a heavy gunfight against unknown enemies in a forest. Amidst the gunfight, the army personnel find a naked man shivering on the ground. The film then shifts to the events 32 hours earlier.

    Collin Bastrow (Clint James), his friend Trevor (Owen Conway) and their girlfriends are planning a mountain trip for the weekend. After the initial flirtations and petting in their cabin, the group head to North Arizona and set up camp in a forest park. Meanwhile, two hunters are entering the woods in search for food.

    The peace is suddenly disturbed by something huge landing on the woods. Immediately, park ranger Alice (Eliza Kiss) goes inside the park and is astonished to find something unusual like a ship in the crash site. However, before she can enter the ship and explore the wreck, she is stung by a strange plant. She rushes back to her camp to seek medical help but this turns out to be the wrong move. Her infections worsen and cause a horrifying nightmare to those inside the woods. 

    The Encounter has nothing new to offer. It is full of cliché and uses the same ingredients of generic alien horror films such as mysterious lights and UFO, grey mushy human-like aliens with their mushroom heads, flying saucers emitting light beams and sucking people, alien beings  bloody murderers, and infections from foreign life which cause incurable insanity to humans.

    The found-footage filming style is also nothing special anymore. Like all other films that utilize the same old tricks, the movie is shot in shaky cam, sometimes in night visions, with people talking to camera and the images blurred or grainy. Such methods have been overused that the movie becomes predictable and mockumentary.

    The movie also has pacing issues. At some points, scenes are too slow that they are filled with meaningless conversations. Particularly near the beginning, Collin and his friends feels like talking endlessly about sex, like showing their thing on camera and similar staffs. At other times, sequencing is too quick that audience find it hard to grasp what really transpired. For example, that part where the friends are attacked by the alien happens so suddenly, and combined with the out-of-focus unstable camcording, some bloody interesting details have been missed out.

    The characters in the film are also very stereotypical and interchangeable. They are just some adults who want to enjoy more sex in the weekend in the woods. All other figures are plain forgettable and unnecessary such as the two hunters. In fairness, the actors are somewhat devoted to their roles and delivered passable performance. Eliza Kiss particularly stands out as she has a solo moment where she tells to the cam what she experienced in the woods. All the while, the infection spreads in her and she acts like on the verge of insanity. Somehow, she was pretty convincing in that part. As to the other elements of a horror film like make up and costumes, they are also quite appealing and ghastly.

    From its general looks, The Encounter is undeniably a low budget indie horror film. Considering this in mind, it would still be fairly alright to watch it. However, it is overloaded with cliché that viewing experience will not be new and distinctive.


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