The Phoenix Incident full movie review - Great Special Effects With No Direction
The found footage trope is an overused plot device. I'm biased against shaky camera nonsense, simply because it can (and would be) digitally repaired.
Anyone can create a fixed-point to line up the camera motion frame-by-frame using a home computer; There's an example of this somewhere on Youtube using the movie 'Cloverfield'.
I loved the creature effects in this film. George Loucas did a fantastic job. I wish he would replace whoever does the crappy CGI for SYFY originals. The aliens looked great. The overhead dog-fight with the UFO was great. Even the silly way the UFO crashed worked for me because (at least) it looked something actually hit ground. I enjoyed the visuals so much that I wish it were most of the movie.
The actors were great and very believable at the start. I thought this was a real home video edited into the movie. But towards the alien contact it became apparent that they weren't receiving direction. They were improvising their reactions and lines during the chase scene & before the abduction. It went from believable to totally fake with one sundown.
One con of this film is the use of real footage to create a documentary appearance. It was way too random and unsorted. It needed smother editing - for instance; we're watching the action unfold, it cuts away to a news reel, then back to the action and again to a news reel. A 101 course in how to make a documentary would have worked here.
The news and interview were just to fill time, because there was only enough "found footage" for a short film. Time fillers are easy though; Doesn't this director know you can stretch moments with a black screen, heavy breathing and a little suspense? The "less is more" type of film-making that was used in (say) 'Jaws' that Spielberg created whenever the shark was broken.
It's a 6 out of 10 for me. I'd still recommend it for the FX and some of the acting. The plot itself was based on the real life "Phoenix Lights" event, but there's no real dialogue here, zero direction and basically it plays out like those scenes in a video game you want to skip through. Even on a cheap budget this could have been a great collector for the UFO enthusiasts. This is purely directorial failure.