The “Found Footage” phenomenon died out in theaters as soon as it began, it seems, as the glut of films following this formula to spice up mediocre genre pieces that got major releases came and went pretty quickly. It’s lasting impact on the horror genre, though, is seemingly permanent because found footage is a staple of the direct to DVD market. With video on demand becoming a significant portion of a film’s potential revenue stream, for those not getting a wide release into theaters, a film like Phoenix Forgotten winds up having a great trailer and not much else.
It’s a simple premise. Following a natural light phenomenon in 1997, a trio of teenagers wind up in a Blair Witch scenario with aliens. In the present video of their scenario is watched as part of a documentary about the disappearance of the teenagers, which gives you a spoiler early on that the archival video isn’t going to end well.
The problem is that the film apes The Blair Witch Project fairly strictly in terms of the buildup, replacing the generic horror with a science fiction set up. Nothing about it is new, unique or at a minimum interesting. It has a tremendous pedigree, and an interesting set up, but instead of going somewhere interesting with it we’re given the same old.
Phoenix Forgotten is a forgettable film, nothing more.
Nothing too exciting or noteworthy.
20th Century presents Phoenix Forgotten . . Directed by Justin Barber. Written by T.S Nowlin and Justin Barber. Starring Chelsea Lopez, Florence Hartigan, Justin Matthews, Luke Spencer Roberts. Run Time: 87 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on 8.1.17
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