“Phoenix Forgotten” (2017) is a found-footage horror film that didn’t pan out.

“Phoenix Forgotten” (2017) has a couple of things going for it.  The first is its use of real events as the MacGuffin for its found-footage horror story — the 1997 mass UFO sighting in Arizona known as “The Phoenix Lights.”  The second is the young Chelsea Lopez in a lead role.  She appears to be a gifted young actress, and she’s … astonishingly good here.  (The script, too, does succeed in painting her adolescent protagonist as likable and identifiable.)

Those two things, however, do not save “Phoenix Forgotten” from being a mediocre movie.  It’s sometimes slow and occasionally even boring, despite the fact that it picks up quite a bit in its closing minutes.

It also feels far too much like a beat-for-beat remake of 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project.”  Yes, it’s a different sub-genre, with a science fiction plot device instead of a supernatural threat, and a desert setting instead of the Maryland forest.  But its story, its conclusion and even its closing shots parallel that superior film very closely.

I’d rate this a 4 out f 10.



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