From director Justin Barber and producer Ridley Scott comes another boring found footage movie, this time about aliens.
Similar to the premise of The Blair Witch Project, Phoenix Forgotten is a story about three teenagers who go missing in the Arizona desert while searching for UFOs. These events take place only a few days after the real life occurrence of the ‘Phoenix Lights’, where thousands of people claimed to see UFOs. And, like most found footage films, I’m sure you can guess exactly what happens.
Unlike The Blair Witch Project, this film is completely unbelievable in its approach. I can’t tell if it was meant to appear real, or if the audience was supposed to know the events transpiring were fake. Either way, the writing was often pretty atrocious, making it very clear from the get-go that it was fake. Overall, I’m just not sure it’s possible to make a convincing (or even realistic) found footage movie in this day and age.
Another major issue with the film is how little it tries to scare the audience. I was actually shocked by the end of the film because of how insignificant the tension is. While I was glad Phoenix Forgotten didn’t resort to silly jump scares, I was expecting at least some thrilling moments. Instead, we the audience get next to no scares or thrills.
I considered the possibility that this was meant to be more about the characters and less about getting scared like your traditional found footage movie. Yet, I don’t even think that argument makes sense. There are plenty of plot points (like the love triangle between our three protagonists) that go absolutely nowhere. Even the few touching and heartfelt moments in Phoenix Forgotten feel like they are unresolved and go nowhere. By the film’s end, none of the character plots are satisfied, at all.
So if Phoenix Forgotten isn’t scary, isn’t believable, and isn’t the least bit fun, than what is it? Who was it made to please, or entertain? Well, I have the feeling we’ll never get that answer. Phoenix Forgotten is a messy and directionless film that I hope I’ll forget very, very soon.
The Verdict: D-