Remote Patrol is a blog dedicated to small screen movie and television non-major spoiler reviews from an assortment of contributors. Be sure to comment and give us your opinions too! Genre: Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi
Studio: Cinelou/Scott Free Productions
Rated: Rated PG-13 for terror, peril and some language
Starring: Florence Hartigan, Luke Spencer Roberts, Chelsea Lopez
Plot: 20 years after three teenagers disappeared in the wake of mysterious lights appearing above Phoenix, Arizona, unseen footage from that night has been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.
Running Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Review Score: 2 flying saucers (out of 5)
Reviewed By: Keyser Söze
Phoenix Forgotten is a “found footage” film, a style for me that can cut both ways. More on this in the next section, but what the film does achieve to an extent is humanizing the subjects of the film. The story revolves around three teens that choose to cut their journalistic teeth on the appearance of the now famous “Phoenix lights in the sky” on March 13, 1997, venturing out not long after the siting but never to return from the desert. The first half of the movie documents one of the missing’s older sister as she pieces together what happened almost twenty years before, going home to her now divorced parents and going through archived video footage from her brother’s camera (returned to the family upon conclusion of the investigation). The footage contains what you would expect….kids trying to be adults…on the adventure of their lives, hinting at a love triangle and making us feel something for the subjects.
Shockingly, she comes across what police investigators apparently could not be bothered to research….a second camera and existing footage in a school supply garage! The second half of the film centers on this lost footage and the answers to the mystery of their disappearance. Shaky cameras, UFO phenomena, malfunctioning equipment, and just about every other cliche for this type of film ensues. But at the end of the day, it does nothing to distinguish itself and do something different from other films of its type. And the payoff is terribly week at the end of the film, leading us to exactly where we expected the story to go from the beginning with no surprises along the way. I supposed the only distinguishing quality is the first person style.
While it has the PG-13 rating, it does have its share of grisly images, with wild animals being shown hollowed and burned. There is some teen drinking, and some mild language. But this one stays relatively tame. Even the intensity of the finale is really not all that overwhelming for the feint of heart.
Honestly, this movie is probably not worth your time. If you are looking for a good UFO-style film with unexplained phenomena, check out Fire in the Sky or The Fourth Kind. Both are excellent selections, and will provide a much more satisfying experience for you.