MOVIE REVIEW: THE ENCOUNTER / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: ROBERT CONWAY / SCREENPLAY: ROBERT CONWAY / STARRING: CLINT JAMES, OWEN CONWAY, MEGAN DRUST, ELIZA KISS / RELEASE DATE: TBC
The latest found-footage horror release, The Encounter starts with the aftermath of a supposed alien encounter in a forest that leaves one human survivor, Collin Bastrow. The film then immediately goes back to before the horrific events began with what started out as being a mundane camping trip with his fiancée and friends. Soon, an alien parasite lands near where they were staying for the night and starts picking off the rather disposable group one by one, which will inevitably leave Collin as the only survivor left to explain the unspeakable tale.
The Encounter has a very good idea at the heart of it, that is intriguing and has the potential for a great horror movie, but just like Chernobyl Diaries, the idea gets lost and ends up becoming somewhat disappointingly realised. It becomes the standard typical found footage horror movie that we’ve seen before with the typical young-adult characters becoming hysterical while bad things happen to them, as seen in films like Paranormal Activity. As far as the characters are concerned, it’s necessary to have some engagement or sympathy with the players in order for the horror-driven narratives to work. In this case, you do at least get some nice interactions between the four central characters, even if they do inevitably fall into the generic hysterical characters of horror-yore. The lead actors give decent performances, particularly Paulina Vallin who gets a moment to shine towards the end when she convincingly portrays genuine human fear in a moment of grave need.
However, the found footage genre has been ploughed to death by now to the point where you begin to question whether or not this filmmaking trope is for artistic benefits or if it’s really just for the sake of it. With The Blair Witch Project, the reason that became timeless was because it had an idea that was completely gripping, and despite how incredibly annoying the characters were, they did really interesting things within that format. In the case of this, there’s WAY too much of that going on, it seems very old-hat, and really didn’t need to be there at all. Even though it wasn’t scary at all, there were at least some chilling scenes, particularly a very disturbing, and quite gruesome, transformation that happens earlier on. The prosthetic appliances, as well as a convincing performance from Eliza Kiss, helped make those sequences memorable and impactful, even if the final monsters themselves look strangely similar to the Silence in Doctor Who.
In the end, whilst there are a few chilly scenes implemented here and there, some decent performances, and although the film has a very interesting idea at the heart of it, the film never gets off the ground and results in something that is all build-up but absolutely no pay-off. Plus, we’ve been yelled at constantly by that found footage genre for so long now that every time they release a film in that specific sub-genre, none of them has ever come up to the standard of Blair Witch or even .
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10