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.
Those words are what I was literally screaming in my head beginning about a half an hour into the film, as the first act of the movie went on and on with all these unnecessary and drawn-out interviews with the family members and friends of the three teenagers who went missing back in 97' after the Phoenix Lights incident in Phoenix, Arizona. I honestly felt like I was watching a faux documentary on the film, perhaps something to watch in the special features section of the DVD when it comes out, but it made up over half of the movie!
The sad thing, this film had a lot of promise and potential, and so much of it was squandered in the end. The Phoenix Lights, unlike The Blair Witch, which this film, quite rightfully, is constantly accused of being a ripoff of, was a real phenomenon which took place twenty years ago. To this day it was never really been explained, and while there are tons of individuals out there claiming to know what took place, it still remains a mystery to the general public. Also, some very interesting ideas regarding the Ancient Astronauts Mythos, with references to Merkabah or Ezekiel's wheel from the Old Testament actually providing some insight into the mystery later on in the "found footage" part of the movie when you find out what really happened to the three missing teenagers, Mark, Josh, and Ashley.
In addition to this, some potential for emotional depth and drama regarding the younger sister of Josh who went missing back in 97, regarding her current goal of attempting to find out what really happened to him by creating the "documentary" part of the film, also never amounts to very much. I understand this isn't some deep Hollywood drama about what the mental states of the friends and family of those unfortunate people who are never heard from again, but it could have been a lot more in-depth than it was without losing focus.
In the end however, it ultimately falls prey to far too many of the clichés and pitfalls which unfortunately plague almost every "found footage" horror movie these days, and yes, at times, it seems very reminiscent of an earlier film nowadays regarded as a classic, 1999's The Blair Witch Project. A real shame because for quite a while towards the end when it finally shows what happened to them, it was genuinely eerie and foreboding but then of course the ending itself manages to be one of the most anti-climactic I've ever seen. It was okay I guess, but falls far from greatness.
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