The Phoenix Incident better known in reality as the Phoenix Lights is a real life UFO sighting which occurred in 1997 in the skies over the city.
With hundreds of people reporting varying descriptions of the lights many stating seeing a huge V shaped dark craft moving above them and others seeing stationary lights later identified as flares by the US Air force this creepy close encounter remains a mystery to this day making it the perfect subject for a found footage frightener the twist being that the film is actually pretty good!
Although used as the basis for a variety of TV shows, documentaries, Sci-Fi films and horrors due to the vast amount of evidence and eye witness accounts writer and director Keith Arem who made his name creating video games still manages to deliver something new on the subject taking all he learnt in the gaming industry and expertly transferring into movie making.
The failing of so many found footage films is there utter laziness in the story, set up, scares and style yet like the very few exceptions to the general rule that found footage equals f’ing awful film Arem uses all the tools at his disposal to create tension and terror while telling a gripping story of a group of men who go missing during the night of the phoenix incident.
Pieced together with military material, news broadcasts, interviews and most importantly the footage from the camera of the missing campers fiction and reality are blurred brilliantly in a tale of aliens, cult leaders and army cover ups.
Sucking you in from the start with the testimonial of a high ranking whistle blower from the air force who is prepared to reveal all on the involvement of the government and military not just in that night but in every encounter they have ever had with extraterrestrials the film doesn’t let go till its action packed climax which sees F15’s take on space ships and the scared and surrounded men’s last stand against their unknown enemy.
Although a bit jerky in parts and with a short running time of only 1 hour 10 minutes long The Phoenix Incident is a genuinely good horror with plenty of solid scares and some genuinely disturbing moments especially around the insane cult leader character.
Massive credit must go to Keith Arem for proving the potential of found footage and with more and more video games featuring the scope, ideas and budget of mainstream Hollywood movies I hope we are set to see a raft of talent jumping over to the horror genre with hopefully just as much promise and potential as Arem displays in The Phoenix Incident.