Starring Kristian Fjord, Jacob Wagner Guldager, Signe Mathilde Sorensen
Directed by Anders Johannes Bukh
Written and directed by Anders J. Bukh, Encounters focuses on a group of aspiring filmmakers that travel to the desolate forest of Northern Sweden to film what they hope is a productive horror film, yet the terror they confront is nothing compared to what they’d ever imagined.
Communicating with Anders himself via email, he understood my lack of patience with the whole “found-footage” subset of the horror genre, and was in complete agreement with my frustration towards such presentations. However, I took the opportunity to check out his film which he stated was created 5 years ago, and added a bit of a spin to his creation by adding several plot-points in which to focus upon, rather than getting stuck with just one person lugging a video camera around with them. So with that being said, here’s my take on Mr. Bukh’s film. As the film opens, we’re treated to the obligatory disclaimer about a missing film-crew, and how all subsequent footage that was obtained from the Swedish Intelligence Service was hacked and re-distributed online (not too intelligent, huh), and NOW we are all the lucky eyeballers of this group’s last moments – how cheery. With a failing GPS signal and lack of cellphone reception, the squad plunders on aimlessly through the thick greenery of the woods, relentless in their quest to get off some killer footage for their film…best of luck, ladies and gentlemen.
Upon the initial filming, strange lights and eerie sounds arise from the woods, and after one of the crew goes missing…well, I’m pretty sure you all can connect the dots on this one. Without actually producing any aliens on-screen, it’s pretty much inferred as to what the group is contending with, and I’ve got to tell you, I really didn’t mind it all that much. The idea of mirror-imaged replicants of yourself stalking you out in the open is pretty terrifying stuff, and if not for the lag-times between shock-moments, the film would have attained a higher score. Nonetheless, all of our main actors give us the range of emotions from fear and anxiety, to brutal honesty and sympathy – it was refreshing because they all seemed real, and aside from the usual inane actions that are committed during these films, this collection of players were right on target. Another point on the plus side (at least for me, anyway) was the intelligent decision to actually show someone replacing a damn camera battery – no more “everlasting power source!”
There are more than just a few jump-scares in this movie, which sadly has become somewhat of a lost art in the more recent releases that the masses have had to endure. The use of night-vision and and ambient sound also adds to the creep factor, and when I’d normally be bashing one of these productions, I honestly found myself waiting to see what happened next. The following statement is going to take a LOT out of me to utter: I can certainly recommend this film to fans of the recently uncovered footage sub-genre – worth a peek if otherworldly visitor invasions freak you out.