This blog was authored by Sha’kym.
What gives Dark Encounter its chops?
The setting, the script, the score, the acting? No. For me, it was the uniqueness of how Strathie, the director and writer of Dark Encounter, conveyed such a complex story in a short amount of time.
Dark Encounter is a sci-fi film about missing eight-year-old Maisie (Bridget Dougherty). Most of the film focuses on the family and how they’ve dealt with their grief of Maisie being missing for a year. When UFOs come to their town on the anniversary of Maisie’s disappearance, it seems to be targeting this one family and antagonizing them.
Spoiler Alert: It’s not just the family who experiences this.
What makes the UFOs and, later, the singular alien appearance special is the way they are depicted and crafted behind the scenes. In Dark Encounter, the UFOs appear similar to flying balls of lights. The depiction of them is unique because it isn’t your typical ‘Hollywood Spacecraft’ or flying saucer. They are anomalies. But in reality when they filmed the lights are attached to drones.
The alien’s special effects weren’t how I’d pictured it to be. It took on a more humanoid appearance with elongated features and translucent body. It wasn’t a solid alien like E.T., which Strathie took inspiration from to write Dark Encounter. The alien and UFOs are one of the many things that sold me on the Dark Encounter.
The other thing that sold me to Dark Encounter was the underlying message. It’s not overtly obvious and is rather subtle for the audience when watching. I discovered this message when I watched the Script to Screen for Dark Encounter. Script to Screens are the journeys of films from their pre-production to their post-production stage and it does have a lot of spoilers. However, Script to Screens do give better insight to the films as it interviews the directors, writers, producers, and actors involved than watching the films alone would ever give.
Carl Strathie doesn’t see Dark Encounter as a Sci-fi movie, but as a spiritual meditation of life and death. He also sees it as a way to study the consciousness and accept the saddest parts of our lives in order to move on and keep living. His perspective is more noticeable when there is a tone/genre shift near the end of the movie, but also within the mother’s character, Olivia (Laura Frasher). I would recommend to keep watching, if you find the first half of the movie drags on, because the last thirty minutes are worth it.
Overall Rating: B