ENCOUNTER on Amazon’s Prime Video is a new sci-fi thriller. Or really, it plays out like a thriller drama. Still, the strong cast and touching story is enough to keep you hooked. Even if it is a tad too long. Read our full Encounter movie review here!

ENCOUNTER is a new Amazon Original movie on Prime Video. Riz Ahmed is the absolute star of this movie and delivers yet another strong performance. I had no idea of what to expect from this movie, but I did have an inkling of an idea based on the trailer.

It turned out to be spot-on, so check out the trailer (at the bottom of this review) and maybe you’ll catch on as well. While I was very entertaining but the storyline and acting, it felt a touch too long at 1 hour and 48 minutes. Still, it was worth watching and I do recommend checking it out.

Continue reading our Encounter movie review below.

Riz Ahmed shines again!

I’ve seen Riz Ahmed in quite a lot over the years and have enjoyed the praise he’s finally truly getting now. He was brilliant in the HBO mini-series The Night Of and also in Nightcrawler (2014) working across from Jake Gyllenhaal.

Then, with him getting the Oscar nomination for Sound of Metal, it seems he has definitively arrived. In some ways, his character in Encounter feels similar to that portrayal. And not just because he loves heavy metal in this new movie as well.

However, the real strength of his character portrayal in Encounter is in scenes with the two youngest stars of this movie. The two young actors portray Malik Khan’s (Riz Ahmed) sons. In a rather brilliant scene where he’s reconnecting with his sons, he finds out that his oldest son loves K-Pop and the youngest loves Barbra Streisand.

The two young actors are Aditya Geddada as Bobby (the youngest) and Lucian-River Chauhan as Jay (the oldest). Especially Lucian-River Chauhan has the most to work with based on him being the older child, who understands what’s going on.

Encounter (2021) – Review | Prime Video

Is Encounter on Amazon Prime Video sci-fi?

What I’m about to say next might be a bit of a spoiler, but I also feel it’s a necessary warning to make sure you set your expectations accordingly. This new Prime Video movie is officially listed as a “sci-fi thriller” but that really isn’t fair to it.

Sure, elements of it, but not really at its core. Instead, it’s a dark psychological thriller and drama that is very character-driven. If you watch it as such, you’ll get a touching (and, at times, heartbreaking) story.

In many ways, Encounter is like a hybrid of two rather awesome movies starring Michael Shannon. One is the horror-thriller Bug (2006) co-starring Ashley Judd and directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist). The other is the sci-fi thriller Take Shelter (2011) co-starring Jessica Chastain.

Two very interesting movies – with wonderful leading ladies – and both are better than Encounter. Still, this new Prime Video addition is worth watching.

Watch Encounter in theaters and then on Prime Video

Michael Pearce is the director of Encounter which he also co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Barton. This is only the second feature film from Michael Pearce following his debut in 2017 with the award-winning Beast. Joe Barton previously wrote the feature film My Days of Mercy (2017) and he’s slated to write a Cloverfield sequel!

MORE FROM SCREENWRITER JOE BARTON

Be sure to check out the awesome The Ritual on Netflix if you haven’t already >

I should also mention that while it might look like Octavia Spencer is co-starring in Encounter if you see the poster, that isn’t the case. It has more to do with the fact that she’s Octavia Spencer – and should be highlighted – than it does screen time. She’s good (of course!) but isn’t really that much in this movie much.

While I was expecting something different initially (based on the official plot), I was still happy with the movie I watched. It’s a bit too long, but the strong cast and touching story is enough to keep you hooked. As long as you don’t expect a classic sci-fi thriller, that is!

ENCOUNTER is out in theaters December 3, 2021, and on Prime Video December 10, 2021.

Details

Directed by: Michael Pearce
Written by: Joe Barton, Michael Pearce
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Rory Cochrane, Lucian-River Chauhan, and Aditya Geddada

Plot

A decorated Marine goes on a rescue mission to save his two young sons from an unhuman threat. As their journey takes them in increasingly dangerous directions, the boys will need to leave their childhoods behind.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina