On June 5, 2015, Uncork’d Entertainment and FunHouse Features will release their latest Horror/Sci-Fi movie The Encounter. Told using a combination of Found Footage and with multiple points of view, The Encounter was written and directed by Robert Conway (Necro Wars 2010, Exit to Hell 2013). Also known as Forest Fire, The Encounter monopolizes on the fear that already exists within human kind: that if we are not alone in the universe, what if that other life form is malevolent? In 2012, there were three thousand and six hundred unexplained object sightings in the United States. In the last three years, that number has risen to six thousand. A large number of the population believe that, in the near future, evidence will come out that will provide irrefutable proof that such life exists. Some people believe that evidence is already here.
One evening in 2012, air traffic control in Rollins Airforce Base, Arizona reported seeing strange objects acting unusually across the radar. More objects showed up, their electronic equipment malfunctions before some time after one of the objects falls from the sky like a meteor crash, landing into the nearby woods. Locals, including Ranger Alice Sumner (Eliza Kiss: A Hollywood Affair 2013, A God Named Pablo 2015), witnessed the meteor and reports the details on her YouTube Series, and encourages people to hike there and have a look over the coming weekend. Alice herself intends to visit the site on her morning rounds of the national park.
At the same time, Filmmaker Collin (Clint James: Take Me Somewhere Nice 2004, Breakdown Lane 2015), his fiancee, Kimmy (Megan Drust: The Accountants 2015, Poison Sky 2015), Ryan (Louie Iaccarino: Strangers 2015, No Way Jose 2015), and his girlfriend, Holly (Paulina Vallin: Armenia, My Country, My Mother, My Love 2015, All I want for Christmas 2015), are heading off to the woods for a weekend of camping and relaxing. Collin films their trip and camping time. Trevor (Owen Conway: Exit to Hell 2013, Breakdown Lane 2015) is spending the weekend in the woods with fellow deer hunter, Duncan (Dan Higgins: Exit to Hell 2013, The Letdown 2014). Trevor is using trail cameras to film their hunting adventure. The first day they spend in the woods, they set up their camp, hide, and begin stalking deer. Trevor narrates their day, often having jokes at Duncan’s expense, whom he calls “old man.”
As Alice drives closer towards the general area of the crash site, her radio begins malfunctioning, but she is able to continue to film the journey. She has to travel the last part to the site on foot until she gets to where she believes the meteor should be. What she finds is not what she expects. She examines the area and is quickly bitten by an unidentified thing. Initial first aid proves ineffective and Alice must return to the Ranger Hut. Once she is there, her health deteriorates rapidly, and she transforms into something terrifying, all the while recording the process. Collin, Kimmy, Ryan, and Holly are having a great time around the camp fire telling ghost stories until a walk in the woods changes the course of their lives. They are confronted by the same thing that attacked Alice and their options for escape are limited. Trevor and Duncan go from hunting deer, to hunting whatever thing is mutilating animals, and chasing Duncan and Trevor, instead.
At different stages, the groups’ stories intersect, often in shocking ways. Each of the characters find themselves fighting for their lives against something otherworldly with little time to gather their wits about them. None of the people in the woods on that fateful day leave in the same condition they entered in. With elements of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), and Abduction (2014), The Encounter is packed full of action, tension, and scariness. Well-acted with a sound plot and full character development, The Encounter is a must watch. Great special effects, with a building intensity, ensure viewers will not be going to the woods anytime soon. The cinematography by Travis Amery (Necro Wars 2010, Exit to Hell 2013) captures the isolation and vastness of the National Park while injecting out of this world Horror into such a beautiful place. Conway has done a fantastic job with this movie, proving himself to be a real contender in both the Sci-Fi and Horror genre. CrypticRock gives The Encounter 5 out of 5 stars.