The Phoenix Incident
Michael Adamthwaite, Troy Baker, Brian Bloom
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
…well produced and enjoyable…
The Phoenix Incident takes its name from an event in 1997 where citizens of Phoenix, Arizona witnessed strange lights floating above their city. Even if you don’t lurk in internet forums, you can probably already guess that most people pointed their fingers towards the most logical conclusion: aliens!
Filmmaker, Keith Arem, who makes his feature length directorial debut after a healthy and successful career in the videogame industry, uses this supposed intergalactic mystery as the springboard for this mockumentary tying it into the disappearance of four men. Arem uses two styles in his narrative; the first is an interview with a shady operative who promises to disclose the truth behind the lights. The second, in the form of found footage, follows the last hours of the missing men as they get caught in the crossfire of an interstellar dog fight.
Whilst it’s been twenty years since The Blair Witch Project came out, its influences run deep. In the case of The Phoenix Incident, the film certainly owes a debt to that movie, whilst also sharing a lot in common with its predecessor, The Last Broadcast, which also used a documentary approach to tell a tale of horror wrapped up in local myth.
A good documentary should capture its audience’s attention even if they have no prior knowledge of the event covered, and the same applies here. It’s this approach that works strongest for The Phoenix Incident as, like with films such as Lake Mungo, the documentary style is used to successfully build up tension, while the found footage is simply more of what we’ve seen before. Admittedly, it’s well produced and enjoyable, but is derivative none the less.