I was 21 when the Phoenix Lights happened. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying too much attention while it was happening. All the details of the incident went right over my head. But, I thought “Phoenix Forgotten” would be a good refresher, if done correctly. The trailers for the movie make it seem like a “Blair Witch Project”-type of film, but I was more interested in the story itself.
The story centers around Sophie (Florence Hartigan), whose brother Josh (Luke Spencer Roberts) went missing during the Phoenix Lights twenty years ago with friends Ashley (Chelsea Lopez) and Mark (Justin Matthews), and Sophie is trying to piece together what happened.
The movie starts out in a documentary-style format, which I think works really well for a movie like this. It actually made me feel as if the archival footage (some of it anyway) was actually real. The “found footage” format comes into play when Sophie finds old camcorder tapes that play throughout the movie. So we (the audience) are seeing what she sees, piecing together the story.
The actual history surrounding this event is still, to this day, unexplained. But, in order to satisfy movie-goers who need to be spoon-fed answers, Sophie does find a “final” tape which clearly and concisely explains what exactly happened to the the 3 friends that night. While I am somewhat grateful that there was an answer, I feel it “cheapens” the true historical record that so many residents of Arizona witnessed on March 13, 1997.
The story itself was engaging. I was following Sophie’s journey to get to the truth. The real acting comes mostly from Josh, Ashley, & Mark. They played their respective roles very well. This movie prompted me to actually read up a bit on the actual history of what happened.
While the movie itself will probably be forgotten (pun intended) a year from now, it was a good story told in an interesting way. It may not be suited for most viewers, but I have no regrets about see in this movie.
My Rating: B-