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.
Phoenix Forgotten tells the story of three teens who went into the desert shortly after the incident, hoping to document the strange events occurring in their town. They disappeared that night, and were never seen again. Now, on the twentieth anniversary of their disappearance, unseen footage has finally been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition. For the first time ever, the truth will be revealed.
So, just got out of Phoenix Forgotten and I want to put my head in boiling water. Maybe that's not the most compelling way to start off my review, but what can I say? Phoenix Forgotten isn't the most compelling movie. In fact, it's so uncompelling, I fell asleep TWICE watching it. I've never even fallen asleep once watching a film before in my life, and I've watched some pretty awful movies.
In all seriousness though, this is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The structure is completely broken and incoherent; it starts off as half documentary and half found footage focusing on two characters for 30 minutes; Josh, who is filming a school project on recent UFO sightings in Phoenix in what will eventually become the found footage element of the film, and his sister Sophie, making a documentary about her brother's disappearance 20 years ago. The film will switch off between these 2 characters back and forth for the first act, until it goes into straight documentary for 20 minutes focusing on Sophie. Then the film abandons Sophie completely for the last 30 minutes to focus on Josh's found footage. This would have been tolerable (If irritating) if any one of these segments was engaging, compelling or scary, but none of them are.
The acting is Halloween: Resurrection levels of bad from everyone on the cast. There's SO much fake crying from the teens in "spooky" situations; where the actors and actress will scrunch up and water their eyes because they can't cry on cue, and then make their voice hysterical to get out as much fake emotion as possible. The worst offender is Chelsea Lopez as Ashley, Josh's crush. She whimpers and half-heartedly yells (NOT screams, YELLS) in desperate attempt to convince the audience they're watching "real footage", but not once did I ever feel this was a real character in real danger The adults aren't much better, I'm probably only being nicer to them cause we don't see them as much.
As for the scares? Well, if you're morbidly terrified at the thought of bright lights, nosebleeds, raining pebbles and LOUD NOISES (These noises and explosions that rock the films ending like a hurricane presumably make up most of the film's $2 million budget...I can't see it going to anything else like, I don't know, making a solid horror movie), I'm sure you'll need to sleep with the lights on. For me and everyone else at my screening though, they were just obnoxious and repetitive. They seriously shoulda just called the movie "The Spooky Lights."
This film's so bad that I couldn't help myself from loudly making fun of the movie at the film's climax, and rather than get annoyed, the rest of my screening actually laughed and cheered at me mocking it. Nobody raised their hand and said "Well, I thought it was good" or even "It wasn't that bad." Everyone was making fun of it coming out of the film and insulting its ineptitude right along with me.
It's so bad, I'm genuinely concerned it could very well be the death of found footage horror. Which really scares me (Ironic, I know) since I only SAW the film since we get so few theatrically released found footage horror films these days and I try to catch every one I can in theaters so I don't miss out. "The Blair Witch Project" this is not. "Blair Witch" this is not. And I feel sick to my stomach seeing this poorly acted, poorly structured, unscary monstrosity being so frequently compared to either.
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