2017 overall has been a good year for horror movies. Movies like Raw, Get Out, and Personal Shopper, have had a positive effect on horror, and will be remembered. This Movie will not. Phoenix Forgotten, is an apt title to say the least. In a week, maybe less, I guarantee that a viewer will forget this movie completely. I know I did. The film isn’t bad persay, just perfectly meh. Which is a shame really, as the concept of the flick is full of potential.
Back in the far off days of 1997, over Phoenix, Arizona, there were reports of spherical lights hanging over the city in a V formation. Thousands of people saw the lights, and the mayor dismissed it, then dismissed the dismissal he made once he was out of office, making the whole situation look sketchy. To this day, the cause of the lights over Phoenix is still unknown. That’s what Phoenix Forgotten centers around. Sounds pretty intriguing right? Well, I wouldn’t blame anyone for assuming so. It’s the stuff conspiracy theories are made of, and probably make tinfoil hat wearers everywhere drool with the thought of aliens so close to home. Unfortunately, Phoenix Forgotten squanders its premise.
The movie seems to have blurred the line between inspiration, and imitation. Phoenix Forgotten wants to be The Blair Witch Project so bad. It tries so hard to be the movie that started the found footage sub-genre of horror, that a majority of its audience will probably dismiss it as nothing more than a rip off. Who could blame them? Found footage movie? Yep. Three friends go into the wilderness? Check. Supernatural and extraterrestrial hints? Of course. Well gee wiz, that is Blair Witch! There are more similarities that are less noticeable, but this is the main problem. The film seems so caught up in copying Blair Witch, it forgets to make its own impact on the audience. By the time I walked out of the theatre, the movie left one taste in my mouth, the bland taste of tofu, nothing.
Gladly, the movie’s not all mediocre. The main difference between it and Blair Witch, is that Phoenix has occasions where it separates from a strictly found footage style to more of a documentary. The documentary portions follow the sister (Florence Hartigan) of one of the people that saw the lights above Phoenix, and her story is far more interesting than the one portrayed. These moments were by far my favorite, as they were unique, and took on a very mystery-esque feeling for these portions. Unfortunately, these scenes only make up maybe less than a third of the movie. If I were to make this movie, I would refocus it on the sister and how she delves deeper into this rabbit’s hole of a mystery, and keep the found footage portions of the movie as a side note that pops up maybe once or twice on screen.
Well, do I recommend Phoenix Forgotten? Only to the very desperate. It is completely mediocre, in most every single way. This is the worst type of movie to me. Is it bad? No. It’s merely full of wasted potential, and that’s far worse than any bad movie. My reasoning here, is that at least with a bad movie, Jack and Jill for instance, I know it will be awful, and maybe I can garner some entertainment from how bad it is. A movie like Phoenix. That being said, don’t see Phoenix, if looking for a scary movie to see this weekend, try Netflix, don’t spend seven dollars on this movie.
3 ½ out of 7 Thumbs Up
Starring: Florence Hartigan, Luke Spencer Roberts, Chelsea Lopez