Movie Reviews

Published on May 22nd, 2016 | by Neil Jordan


The Phoenix Incident

Greetings & Salutations Fellow Movie Fanatics!

Today’s selection, for your consideration, is another movie from the ‘found footage’ genre. I know I know. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … ‘The Blair Witch Project’ pretty much broke ground and played out that genre in the timespan of a single film. Hear me out though, cause the folks responsible for today’s selection tapped into the world of science fiction and ufos (and somewhat of a larger budget) to make this movie and the result is I believe a movie worthy enough to add to the selection of your Friday/Saturday night scary movie marathon. I’d even give it B-Movie/Cult Film status.

‘The Phoenix Incident’ is a documentary/sci-fi/thriller written and directed by Keith Arem and stars Yuri Lowenthal, Travis Willingham, Jamie Tisdale, Liam O’Brian, James C. Burns, Troy Baker, and Michael Adamthwaite. Based on the infamous ‘Phoenix Lights’ ufo incident which occurred on Thursday, March 13th 1997, the film merges the fictional disappearance of four local men and a military conspiracy with the factual account of thousands of people seeing what was described as a squadron or fleet of ufos seen traveling from the Nevada state line all the way to Phoenix, Arizona and later as far south as Mexico. The whole event was later attributed to a series of flares deployed as part of a trading exercise by A-10 Warthogs of U.S. National Guard (accounts vary by reports made by various media, law enforcement, and military outlets).

After overcoming a brief car accident outside of town and a brief but hostile encounter with a local religious fanatic, four of the five friends take off on their ATVs for an afternoon in the desert terrain surrounding Phoenix. As the friends are traversing the terrain and recording live video of their afternoon they suddenly spot a huge military presence consisting of warplanes, troop carriers, and attack helicopters racing into the desert at high speed. Intrigued and perhaps far too curious, the group of friends decide to try and follow the aircraft further into the desert as seen through their own camera footage. Darkness soon falls and the men become witnesses themselves to the mass UFO incident occurring over their town. Soon after though, their outing descends into absolute chaos as they become witnesses to something else. Something horrifying that will lead them into the unknown where their ultimate fate will become a mystery all its own. Included with the footage of the group are interviews with family and friends of the four missing men as well as interviews with law enforcement officials who each have different theories on what happened to the four friends. Intertwined with this footage is the account of the military exercises the men witnessed by an anonymous Air Force officer and his knowledge as to what REALLY happened to the four men that evening.

For a film made on less than a million dollars, I give this one major props. It’s definitely falls into the X-Files niche only without Mulder and Scully. I’m wondering if the filmmakers weren’t fans of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ back in the day when Robert Stack hosted cause it has a similar bone-chilling aspect too it at some points. They didn’t CGI the hell out of the special effects either which I think is a real issue today in film and television. The acting ‘doesn’t look like acting’ either. The majority of ‘footage’ genuinely looks like a bunch of friends that start off spending the day goofing off and hanging out only to have their fun filled afternoon descend into utter hell.

I’ll give this one 3 out of 5 stars. Definitely worth the money for the digital download. Watch during sunset or at night to enhance the ‘thrill factor’ and checkout the bonus features included with the film as well. You’re liable to get caught up in it though and forget it’s fiction.

Or is it?

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