The 2015 found footage movie The Encounter (written and directed by Robert Conway) is a quite interesting example of how untrustworthy the ratings on movie reviewing sites (in this case, IMDB) might sometimes be.
But not to get ahead too quickly, I’ve come upon Robert Conway’s name when checking Tiffany Shepis’ filmography (while writing the review of Scarecrow you can read here) and because I have a lot of respect for independent everything – from doing films, to making and releasing music or doing books or zines – I’ve decided to give his work a try.
Readily available on Amazon Prime, was this movie, so, it really was a quick decision. And because I like to check the stuff on the IMDB, here’s what I’ve found.
The Encounter is, as mentioned, a found footage movie with a current rating of 3.4/10 on IMDB. It contains three separate stories, which at some point get mingled together a bit and the main background is alien encounter (hence the title of the movie).
After we see the footage, and listening to the recorded transmission of the jet pilots pursuing the unidentified object and it getting down to Earth, we meet a forest Ranger Alice (played by Eliza Kiss), who goes to investigate the alleged meteorite crash near her place, and as she records the stuff for her video blog, we are witnessing her not-so-well being after her getting affected by something unidentified on the ground. Her appearance in the movie is quite brief, but accompanied with nice practical FX. I still cringe when recalling those fingers…grrr!
The second is the story of two hunters, Ryan and Duncan. Ryan has his GoPro on his head, plus using another camera to record their hunting trip, and they stumble upon a half eaten carcass of some animal, which looks very weird the way it was devoured. And while Duncan (played by Dan Higgins) eventually doesn’t make it, Ryan (Louie Iaccarino) tries to survive the night and his slow descent into the desperation and madness.
The third and final is the story of two couples – Collin (Clint James) and Kimberly (Megan Drust) and Trevor (Robert’s brother Owen Conway) and Holly (Paulina Vallin). And needless to say, their camping trip doesn’t go as planned. A note – I have to commend the director of not going the cheap way of T&A in his movie. Although we see quite an intensive teasing between Collin and Kimberly, it – and I will say fortunately – never goes low just for the bare skin points. Good.
I’m not gonna go into the details of the movie, as I see no point of betraying the story to the audience, but let’s talk about the movie and it’s rating by the fans.
Yep, it does have 3.4/10 on IMDB. And I’ve read all the reviews of this movie there and I just can’t believe the stuff. It seems to me people always expect something grandiose while forgetting the point of the movie is usually to entertain. At least in this category. The reason I write this is that the aforementioned score would, no doubt, put many potential viewers away, and that’s just completely undeserved. I, for one, don’t believe in this low rating.
Many trash the movie for being a found footage. Well, a fair point, as the found footage genre is quite overcrowded and there are some awful examples of a movies done very badly, but c’mon…The Encounter, as the movie, has its flaws, there’s no doubt about that. I, simply, don’t think that anyone would care about filming anything when one’s partner is in trouble, or when lost in the woods, but it’s a movie, without it we wouldn’t have much of the movie itself. I also couldn’t believe Holly’s complaining about lack of water and food…c’mon, we all know how long one can last without those, and although people would complain, that was a littl over-acting. But still, on individual level, it might be realistic.
The two things I would see as problematic here is: first, the encounter (I won’t say anything specific) of Ryan and Holly. It simply didn’t make sense. Second, the examination of Collin by the (unseen) interviewer. That was crappy.
But overall, I was content and although I don’t rate movies, I’d go with a solid 6-6.5 for it.It’s not the best in the genre (whether considering a found footage or alien encounter movies), and I can’t compare it to other director’s work (as I haven’t seen any more yet), but that was some 80 minutes not wasted. And I will be honest with you, as a fan of movies, I don’t ask for more. If you like some creepy movies about alien encounter, that one won’t disappoint.
A few words about the director. Robert Conway is an independent filmmaker with movies like Redemption (2009), where Clint James and Owen Conway met the first time together on the screen, Exit to Hell (2013) with Kane Hodder, Owen Conway, Tiffany Shepis and Dan Higgins), Krampus: The Reckoning (2015) with Monica Engesser (who plays the small role of Dr. Thomson in The Encounter) and Owen Conway, Krampus Unleashed (2016) Breakdown Lane (2017) in which we can meet some familiar cast again, namely Owen Conway, Dan Higgins and Clint James, and The Covenant (2017), again, with Monica Engesser, Owen Conway and Clint James.
And I guess I have some additional movie watching sorted…
As for the movie, it’s on Amazon Prime and also available from Amazon on DVD.
Uncork’d Entertainment site: https://www.uncorkedentertainment.com/film/the-encounter/