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Hannah D. Scott
ENCOUNTER is a little gem of a film. It manages to tell a very compelling and satisfying sci-fi story while leaving plenty to think about well after the end credits roll.
Clearly written and directed by an enthusiast of both science-fiction movies and literature, it gently twists classic tropes and plays with the audiences expectations.
Leading the ensemble cast is Luke Hemsworth (HBO's WESTWORLD), who does a fine job pulling us into the very grounded world of ENCOUNTER. Along with co-stars Anna Hutchison (THE CABIN IN THE WOODS) and Tom Atkins (HALLOWEEN III) as well as a number of others recognizable faces, the credibility of the film is supported by their well-defined characters that feel "real" with everyday problems and flowing non-pretentious dialogue even though they find themselves in a "fantastic" situation.
The participation of Tom Atkins, known to cinema lovers for his performances in LETHAL WEAPON, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, CREEPSHOW and many other cult movie makes the movie that much more special. Used to playing "tough guys", we get to see his softer side playing a kindly Professor pulled into the bizarre events.
The movie concerns itself with a number of human themes, especially the pain of loss and how we deal with grief and the film unfolds in a sober and flowing way giving time for the dynamics of the group of characters to really shine. Writer/Director Paul J Salamoff wisely takes a "less is more" approach to the FX and relies on limited Practical and CGI to get the point across. It's clear that ENCOUNTER is more concerned with the way the fantastical events shape the characters than the fantastic itself.
The movie was made on a modest budget, but it doesn't feel that way. Salamoff has clearly taken great pains to make something special with what he had to work with. He's made a film that embraces those limitations and it makes ENCOUNTER worth a visit.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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