The Phoenix Incident
Director: Keith Arem
Keith Arem p.g.a.
Adam Lawson p.g.a.
Ash Saroha p.g.a.
For me, a good science fiction conspiracy film is hard to beat. The X-files set the stage for a world of wonder, as there are now obviously hundreds of secret cabals all running these United States.
For me, The Blair Witch Project redefined what is possible to do with a genre film. Shot in a faux documentary style, it opened up a world of possibilities that I had never considered.
For me, UFOs have to be the greatest remaining question in the world of the Unknown. Is there alien life? Are we alone? Have they come already?
I guess you may be able to suss out at least a bit about The Phoenix Incident from those three points. It's a fake doc about a real event, the famed Phoenix lights of 1997, that mingles interviews with supposedly found footage of the aftermath of the largest sighting in US history. It's a very smart premise, and the way it is worked out makes it even better.
The major point to the tory is there are aliens, they've already been here, and sometimes they come back. A group of friends are out in the Arizona wilderness and witness the lights overhead. They then see a crash and investigate, leading to a series of misadventures that... well, any more would be spoilerish.
The story is told as though it is a legit documentary, mingling interview footage with the footage the friends apparently made with their camera. That's a neat conceit, but it does stretch the limits at times. You hardly notice, though, because the story is legitimately mind-blowing, and the effects, while maybe a notch below the best of Hollywood, are brilliantly used, and never take away from the most significant portion of the story - the plot.
As the film goes on, we learn more and more about the world that has evolved and it's far worse than the X-Files, largely because this is so obviously OUR world. Unlike The Blair Witch Project, the film makers don't seem to be working to convince us the events actually happen, but within the context of the film, the documentary is recording a real event, which is does brilliantly. In that way, it is far more like Best is Show than Blair Witch. Actually, it in tone and delivery, it reminded me of a fine festival film from 2007, NOVEM, though of a completely different timbre and genre. Both present us with a documentary style of fictional events, and both manage to draw a viewer deeply into a world that could easily be our own.
From shooting and editing to performances, The Phoenix Incident is damn-near perfectly constructed.
Klaus at Gunpoint
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