The artichoke, which possesses magnetic and mind-altering qualities, soon ejects a slimy, phallic tube, suckling on to Will’s neck. This allows him to miraculously stand again, while having expository flashbacks to his possibly-deceased daughter and very-much-alive wife Jessica (Anna Hutchison). Will gets obsessed with the artichoke. “Why can’t this be a miracle?” he wonders. “Why can’t this be God?” The group eventually brings in local college Professor Westlake (Tom Atkins) to help them figure out what this thing is. In the meantime, a couple of wise-crackin’ government agents are on their trail, taking up valuable screen time with their aimless jabbering (“We’re gonna need more firepower than a SWAT team to save our a***s this time”). As they close in on our hapless protagonists, the artichoke grows and grows, akin to the blob.
“Characters make nonsensical decisions that service the plot rather than make common sense.”
Sigh. Where do I start? The narrative shamelessly steals from films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a slew of Cronenberg films, and yes, even Critters. The ending aims for Annihilation-style transcendence, but it’s all sound and fury signifying nothing. Characters make decisions that service the plot rather than make common sense. Salamoff’s wooden dialogue shouted by the cast, doesn’t help matters. “Healing takes time, Will,” Teresa reminds our hero poignantly. “I’m fine!” Will says at another point, the artichoke penis dangling off his neck. “Yeah, until a baby alien pops out of the back of your neck and tries to eat us!” Marcus, the jokester of the group that he is, snaps back. (Cue laughter.) “I’ve been scared all my life,” Teresa proclaims, “but I’m not gonna keep living in fear.” You go, girl!
With its slapdash editing, poor effects and a central creature that resembles a chopped-up Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors, Encounter sadly does little to improve Luke Hemsworth’s filmography. Here’s hoping he (cue groans) encounters a worthy project soon enough.
"…a central creature that resembles a chopped-up Audrey II..."
Yeah, the creature reminded me of something from the original Star Trek series. Nevertheless, your pan of the whole move is unjustified. The Alien, Star Wars, Transformer, and endless super-hero movies all have high production quality but are basically just stalker or good guy vs. bad guy movies with the same old plot. Great production, lousy content. This was just the opposite. It was a low-budget human interest story with a sci-fi twist. It touched on trust, faith, forgiveness, and fulfillment. It wasn’t executed as well as it could have been but for me it beats the flood of high-budget super-hero movies that all have the same plot where problems are always solved through violence. For those tired of the same old special-effects, big budget Hollywood fare, this was a breath of fresh air.