An Encounter Image

An Encounter

By Alan Ng | October 19, 2022

In director Kelly Campbell and writer Mark O’Halloran’s short film, An Encounter, two thirteen-year-olds, Stephen (Moses Murphy) and Jay (Robert Carney), decide to take a day mitching (ditching) from school. Mitching was Stephen’s idea, as he as something weighing on him. Jay is just along for the adventure. Their journey takes them away from the city to an open marsh along the sea.

As the two lounge away by the seashore, a stranger approaches them. The stranger asked the boys if they’d seen his missing dog and if they would help look for him. Suspicious of the stranger, Stephen and Jay say very little. But soon, the frustrated Jay wanders off looking for the dog, leaving Stephen behind with the stranger.

“The stranger asked the boys if they’d seen his missing dog and if they would help look for him.”

Adapted from the James Joyce short story, An Encounter, this is one of those stories that will frighten you as a parent. This stranger picks up on Stephen’s body language and tentative personality during their conversation. He’s able to pick up that he is a loner, particularly at home. The strangers soon begin breaking down Stephen’s apprehensions in hopes of taking him home.

The film walks down a very somber path. Director Campbell sets the tone brilliantly. She immediately establishes Stephen as a troubled young man and contrasts him with the much more boisterous Jay. Then when the stranger arrives, we know exactly what his intentions are. Then from O’Halloran’s script, we see just how easy it is for the stranger to manipulate the teen to do what he wants. The performances from the cast are outstanding and scary at the same time.

An Encounter is the most part, a simple story that says so much about how easy it is for children to be lured into compromising situations. It’s well constructed on a technical level and will scare parents.

An Encounter (2022)

Directed: Kelly Campbell

Written: Mark O’Halloran

Starring: Moses Murphy, Robert Carney, Gary Lydon, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

An Encounter Image

"…performances from the cast are outstanding and scary..."

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