The Phoenix Tapes ’97 (2016)


The Phoenix Tapes '97Plot: In 1997, four campers went missing during the infamous Phoenix Lights (thought to be UFO’s and aliens landing) incident and their bodies were never found. This is their last, known footage. The campers’ whereabouts are still unknown.

My Review: I’m not huge into alien movies, but I watched the trailer for this one and it actually seemed interesting and it was only an hour and 7 minutes long. So I figured what the heck I’d give it a shot. Sadly with my 1yr old it took me like 3 hours to watch, which sucks when you want to review something you actually like. Anyhow, I’d compare this movie to The Blair Witch Project and just say while it doesn’t have as many “lame scares” it does have better acting and doesn’t have all that arguing that made Blair Witch kinda crummy to me.

We start off the movie as though its a real documentary, just like Blair Witch Project, only it really isn’t. While it supposedly (I don’t know because as of this moment I haven’t researched this movie) is based on the real disappearance of 4 men out in the desert at the same time of the mysterious Phoenix lights, it isn’t a real documentary with real footage, its only a movie.

The movie begins with an older man saying his son worked for some branch of the government, he was being sketchy saying he needed to leave and basically go into hiding for awhile and then a few days later he was found dead. When his father decided to change the sons bedroom around, he discovered “The Phoenix Tapes” hidden in his wall. The father believes his son was murdered for having these tapes and wanting them released to the public, thus this “documentary”.

We basically have 4 semi-macho guys headed out into the desert to fish. They’ve got an RV and just wanna go out and have fun. Soon they seem to end up a little lost, only to eventually find their destination many (50ish miles) away from any known road. Of course its 1997 so their phones have no service in the area and they weren’t smartphones anyhow so they have to rely on good old maps. Which the roads they want to take don’t even exist on the maps.

The guys spend the first night out in the RV and one of them awakes to what sounds like bombs going off. After being able to wake up one of the others they head outside with the camera and see a couple flaming balls of fire come down from the sky and hit the earth. They are all excited about it, think its pretty cool and are riled up about it, but that’s about it. The following day they continue on their hike. I’m not sure if one actually gives the correct distance from the RV but one of them says something like its a 28ish mile hike. Which the others scoff at. So its safe to say it really isn’t that far. But we watch them hike, and think they see people watching them. They climb rocks and hike until they find their swimming/fishing hole and they stupidly spend the entire day there waiting until night to try to make camp or attempt to get back to their RV. In the search of some wood one of them thinks they are being followed by a man. The camera eventually picks up a face in the dark peering around a tree. They all take off running. I can’t remember if its this night (the second night) they see “UFO lights” in the sky or the next night. But eventually they get to their RV which is completely demolished. They can’t go anywhere. They decide to spend the night there and find themselves attacked by the unknown till one by one each guy goes missing.

I honestly really enjoyed this movie. I would have liked it a whole lot more if I had been able to watch it in one sitting. I just kept waiting for something to happen and for something to pop out. Honestly you only see the aliens maybe 3 times in the movie. But still I thought it was fun and entertaining.

The main complaints I see on people reviewing this movie on (which by the way I can’t find this listed on IMDB) is that the cameras the guys used wouldn’t have lasted that long back in that day with those batteries. Big deal, lets not be too nit-picky! I honestly know nothing about cameras, but who is to say they didn’t have backup batteries and we just didn’t ever see them changing them. You never know.

Gore/FX: Nothing much really. Sure we get to see some quick semi blurry images of aliens here and there. But there’s no gore. Keep in mind “their bodies were never discovered” so what gore could there be?

Sexual Content: None.

Acting: Honestly I was very shocked and pleased with the acting. I really felt like I was watching real footage of guys on a fishing trip just shooting the shit and having fun, it wasn’t bad, like the Blair Witch often was, or like most of these found footage movies end up being.

Overall: While it didn’t feature a lot of scares, or aliens really, I found it really entertaining. And I would recommend it to those that enjoy alien abduction films. Or those that don’t even. As I said earlier, I’m not a fan of found footage or really alien films and I enjoyed this one a lot. It was very entertaining!

My Rating:

View The Trailer

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