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Remote Patrol: Phoenix Forgotten (2017)

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

News footage from 1997’s sighting of strange lights over Phoenix

The Good
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.

The three fictional missing teens at the center of the story

The Bad
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. 

Oh my gosh! You found the secret footage!

The Ugly 
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.

This is not going to end well

Final Thoughts
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.

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Remote Patrol: Get Out (2017)

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
Studio: Universal/Blumhouse Productions
Rated: R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
Plot: It’s time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend’s parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare.
Running Time: 1 hour 44 minutes
Review Score: 4 Crazy White People (out of 5)
Reviewed By: Keyser Söze

Chris & Rose in happier days

The Good
The whole cast gives great performances.  Daniel Kaluuya playing the fish out of water boyfriend Chris to Allison Williams’ reassuring girlfriend Rose.  Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford play the parents with an heir of menace.  Caleb Landry Jones feels dangerous in his role as Rose’s brother Jeremy.  And the dark subject matter is nicely offset by LilRel Howery’s comedic delivery as Chris’ best friend Rod, a TSA agent who fashions himself as quite the able detective.  The rest of the supporting cast perfectly play their roles, and director Jordan Peele keeps the pacing quick and the tension building until the final crescendo.  The film, while showing some subtle influences, manages to avoid ripping off any of the films it seems to tip its hat to.  And bravo for that, because it provides us something that feels fresh.

Bradley Whitford & Catherine Keener as the  loving & accepting parents

The Bad
There is not much to criticize here, as the movie script does a good job of avoiding some of those “that person would never do that” moments, as is typically present in this genre of film.  Chris’ back story history provides fair reasoning to explain why he may not have been high-tailing it out of Crazyville a little bit sooner.  Some of the dialogue featuring scenes where Chris meets with his girlfriend’s family and friends is just downright uncomfortable to watch with a bunch of privileged white people bending over backwards to identify with Chris’ blackness.  Awkward!  But this is all part of the well-intended plot development.

We want you…to be family!

The Ugly
There are a few moments in this film that are not for the squeamish including the use of bocce balls, guns, cars, and knives as weapons, and the accompanying on-screen gore, though I would not say the film-makers are overly excessive beyond the scope of the story.  Ironically, the most difficult scene to watch involves an instance of brain surgery, and not even part of the aforementioned violence.  The script is littered with dozens of instances of profanities.  And there are some instances of sexual suggestions both direct and indirect, but no actual nudity.

Who remembers Bingo being this creepy?

Final Thoughts
Well worth your Friday night couch convention, but not while the kiddies are around. The horror genre just added a good one to its pantheon with this entry.