Early on, something crash-lands to Earth, with a loud bang, triggering car alarms and dogs barking – although the opening minutes are like a nature documentary, as one bizarre creature feasts on another. Ewww… nature is gross.
There’s some sort of yet-to-be-confirmed alien threat going on, and Malik Khan (Ahmed) is reading up about mind-control insects that enter the body and use them as a host and, as we see close-up, just seeing someone attacked by a bizarre-looking tick burrowing down deep inside of them… okay, that’s me not sleeping tonight!
Malik is a former US Marine, currently separated from his wife and children – and has been for the past two years, sending them letters about how he’s off on a secret mission. But it’s time for a family reunion, and he feels only he can keep them safe from whatever’s invading Earth.
As Encounter goes on, Malik’s backstory is drip-fed to us. He looks like a man who’s about to snap, and has a dark past which he wants to keep hidden from just about everyone, all amounts the kind of film I enjoy where it feels like the end of the world is coming.
The problem with reviewing Encounter is that there’s not an awful lot you can say about it within giving spoilers, but safe to say, the pace of events changes somewhat, so it may not be what you expect. And I don’t want to say in what capacity Octavia Spencer‘s character is involved.
Riz Ahmed is superbly convincing as the father who wants to get his children to safety, away from whatever the invasion is that’s happened, but all the creatures he sees are running around like cockroaches, which reminds me of a particularly horrible apartment I once stayed in, while in Tenerife, which was beyond gross… and from which we quickly moved out!
The film builds up the tension nicely as it goes on, without any weak spots, and there’s some very picturesque locations as they drive from A to B to C, and so on.
Sometimes, I’ll watch a film before I see the trailer. And that’s what I’ve done here, so in this review I won’t have mentioned anything that’s not in the trailer, because the content is for you to discover.
As such, this all makes for a great thriller, with engaging direction, acting and a fantastically complimentary soundtrack, leaving this gripping to the end.
Thanks to our friends at Amazon Prime Video for the screener prior to release.
Encounter is on Amazon Prime Video from Friday December 10th. but the film isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 108 minutes
Release date: December 10th 2021
Studio: Amazon Prime Video
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Director: Michael Pearce
Producers: Dimitri Doganis, Derrin Schlesinger, Piers Vellacott
Screenplay: Joe Barton, Michael Pearce
Music: Jed Kurzel
Malik Khan: Riz Ahmed
Piya: Janina Gavankar
Hattie: Octavia Spencer
Shepard West: Rory Cochrane
Jay Kahn: Lucian-River Chauhan
Grant: Keith Szarabajka
Lance: Shane McRae
Dwight McKinley: Brennan Keel Cook
Raul: Antonio Jaramillo
Frenzied Woman: Joanna Strapp
Dexter: Robert Morgan
Kurt McKinley: Bill Dawes
Hazard Attendant: Michael G Kehoe
Moter: Alisha Seaton
Bobby: Aditya Geddada
Cashier: Melissa Jo Bailey
Ernie: Stefan Sims
Malik’s Doppelgänger: Peter Nikkos
Lady: Sherry McFarland
Zoe: Kennedy Chrisette
Baby Jay Khan: Aarush Mehta
Dylan: Misha Collins (uncredited)
Parole Officer: Frank Edward (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.