Written and directed by Carl Strathie
Following a family memorial for an eight year old girl who mysteriously vanished twelve months ago, strange lights appear in the night sky as the first of many unexplainable phenomena that serve to destabilise a small town group of kin. Whoever took their girl has come back for the rest of them, maybe? True enough, their search for answers as to what’s coming from the skies leads to more of them going missing. Amid the chaos, communication lines open up through the mother of the missing girl, Olivia, played by Laura Fraser. In what is best described as a pared down INTERSTELLAR type schism in our time, space and reality the ‘visitors’ help her unlock the truth about her missing daughter. The cruel, ordinariness of how this drawn out tragedy really began, is the final nail in Fraser’s emotional coffin. Recriminations soon follow and trust between this once close-knit family ceases to exist - such is the shocking nature of what’s revealed.
Why twelve months? Why help at all? It’s not entirely clear what motivated the act of God style intervention, other than the power of the truth setting us all free, but that’s as much of the story writer/director Carl Strathe chooses to give you.
Side bar: DARK ENCOUNTER’s casting is a rare curate’s egg of note. Set in America, with American characters, but played by an almost entirely British cast. #FilmTwitter helped identify only two other examples where this has happened before HORROR HOTEL, A.K.A. CITY OF THE DEAD (1960) and the much lesser known space horror from 1997, BREEDERS. Can you think of anymore examples?