On March 13, 1997, several mysterious lights appeared over Phoenix. Three teens went into the desert shortly after the incident, hoping to document the strange events occurring in their town. They disappeared that night and were never seen again. Now, on the 20th anniversary of their disappearance, unseen footage has finally been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.
Three high school graduate students inexplicably vanish while they were camping in the desert area of Phoenix, Arizona. The three students set out on their journey with the sole purpose of documenting their investigation of the mystery surrounding the circumstances of the Phoenix Lights theory. To this day, no one has ever seen or heard from them again. Twenty years later, Sarah Bishop, a documentary filmmaker and younger sister of one of the missing students, returns to Phoenix to try and uncover their disappearance and set ease to the emotional trauma that has affected the people around them.
The entire first part of this film is set up like a conventional documentary and therefore completely empty of tension. But this is not a lack of the film but rather a positive aspect because I feel that it only increased the impression of realism, especially considering the fact that inspired the film, the sighting of Phoenix, gave rise to several true documentaries and countless conspiracy theories.
One of the few defects attributed to Phoenix Forgotten is one of the errors that characterize most of the films of this type, or the presence of the non-justifiable shots. As it often happens in these films to witness scenes and imagine in a real-life scenario that no one would put themselves in similar situations. In Phoenix Forgotten this happens often, indeed to tell the truth almost everything is well justified but sometimes Barber and Nowlin cannot avoid these mistakes.
You can also tell that the film had a very limited budget because of the amateur-style shooting, but the tension was built not so much with the soundtrack but through the feeling of realism that, in cases like this, or inspired to a true story, it has a stronger effect. The main differences between Phoenix Forgotten and most other films of this type are the absence of the ever-so-annoying jump-scares. Barber aims to create an atmosphere of constant tension, rather than to boost the sound to make the spectators frighten. And the tension, since the part of the found footage begins, is actually present, without the need for effects. Another point in favor of the film is the knowledge that Barber and Nowlin show they have knowledge of this and they make total use of it.
In conclusion, Phoenix Forgotten is a well-made product and it is a pleasure to see a small production of this type associated with the name of Scott, which is honored in the film with an Alien poster hanging in the room of one of the protagonists. The two scriptwriters create a Chinese box mechanism and decide to use both genres. The film is presented as a mockumentary (a fake documentary) complete with interviews, archive footage, newscasts and so on, which justifies technical choices such as the use of a soundtrack. All in all this film wasn’t all that bad, I rather enjoyed it, it just didn’t make much sense to have yet another film of this nature.
Title: The Endless
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Florence Hartigan, Luke Spencer Roberts, Chelsea Lopez
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Directors: Justin Barber
Reviewed by: Chad Bartlett
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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