Justin Barber uses the world famous Phoenix UFO incident, when literally thousands of people saw a triangular formation of lights on the night of the 13th March 1997, travelling over the state of Arizona, as the launching point for his fictional take on the matter.
The film opens with the Birthday Party of 6-year-old Sophie on 13 March 1997, then it cuts to the present day, showing the adult Sophie (Florence Hartigan) flying back to her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She is filming a documentary about her brother Josh (Luke Spencer Roberts) and the events that occurred after that fateful day.
Josh’s old bedroom hasn’t been changed, it still has a telescope and science fiction posters on the walls. Her Mum hands Sophie an old video tape, saying ‘This is how it all started.’ The label on the tape has the handwritten words ‘Sophie’s 6th Birthday’ crossed out on it, replaced by ‘Phoenix Lights’. The video shows the party interrupted by the arrival of seven bright lights moving in a V formation in the night sky. ‘Definitely not a plane’, one person says, then they suddenly disappear. As they are puzzling over these UFOs, jet aircraft loudly fly over their home.
Subsequently, Josh becomes obsessed with the sighting. Whilst making a video asking local people’s opinions about the incident he meets Ashley Foster (Chelsea Lopez) who is keen to become a journalist.
Clips from Josh’s videos are interspersed with news footage of the Phoenix UFO reports and TV footage showing that not long afterwards Josh, Ashley and their friend Mark Abrams (Justin Matthews) went missing.
Sophie finds more tapes showing the three teens out in the desert where they see more UFOs, and with a bit of investigation she discovers another tape showing what really happens to them when they got too close to the truth about these objects.
The interlacing of the different interviews, found footage and news reports builds to a dramatic climax to the mystery. Barber delivers a dramatic Blair Witch Project for UFO fans, and anyone else who likes to wonder about what is lurking in our skies that the government doesn’t want us to know about.
PHOENIX FORGOTTEN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JUSTIN BARBER / SCREENPLAY: T.S. NOWLIN AND JUSTIN BARBER / STARRING: FLORENCE HARTIGAN, CHELSEA LOPEZ, LUKE SPENCER ROBERTS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW