The Encounter Movie Review
Written by Steven Wood
Released by Uncork'd Entertainment
Written and directed by Robert Conway
2015, 85 minutes, Not Rated
Released on DVD and VOD on June 12th, 2015
Clint James as Collin
Owen Conway as Trevor
Megan Drust as Kimberly
Eliza Kiss as Alice
Dan Higgins as Duncan
Louie Iaccarino as Ryal
Normally if I’m approached with a movie involving aliens in the woods, I can just about predict the tone and baseline plot. The Encounter is different, and in many ways better than 75% of its similarly-plotted counterparts.
A common mistake in most found footage movies is that the footage is rarely “found”. The audience is given a reason as to why things are filmed, but rarely an explanation as to who stumbled across the evidence in the first place. The Encounter is no different, which is sad because most everything else is very enjoyable. When the craziness is on, it’s on, but when things slow down, they slow WAY down, and for that reason alone, The Encounter couldn’t completely hold my attention.
Regardless of when the movie slows to a snail’s pace, there is still some very interesting and crazy shit going on, mainly due to the way the alien crash site affects people in the area. When Alice, the local park ranger, approaches the mysterious scene, she is “bitten” or “stung” by something. For her part of the story we are shown in all horrific detail the wound fully infect her body and mind. Her demise is sad to watch, yet confusing at the same time, which you will see for yourself. Other characters suffer different yet equally horrific fates, most notably being Trevor, who is out with and an older man named Duncan on a hunting trip. The alien presence affects him in a more psychological way, basically turning him murderous and having no remorse. This is something interesting and new which I haven’t seen in this type of movie.
With all of the positives out of the way, I can’t help but to bring up the pacing of The Encounter again. The runtime isn’t very long, only 85 minutes, but for about a 20-minute period in the second half, both me and my wife found ourselves wondering what’s going on and when is something going to happen. Not only is it boring during this time, but rather confusing since Trevor is, I would guess, being controlled by the aliens to build some sort of structure? I don’t really know what he is doing since it isn’t explained, nor does he finish building whatever that is.
In the end, the stories of Clint, Trevor and Alice are brought together, and not in a way that you may expect. On top of that, the events of The Encounter are told via interrogation of Clint, who is rescued by the military at the beginning of the film. We get a bit more backstory on he and his fiancé Kimberly’s life just before the camping trip, and it really makes you feel sad for him when things come to a close. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys mysterious things happening in the woods. I’d make the score a bit higher if it wasn’t for the lull around the halfway point.