The Phoenix Tapes ’97 (2016) – Movie Review

The Phoenix Tapes '97 (2016) - Movie Review

So I finally did it…I finally caved in and used Amazon Prime for scouting out some new movies…

But, all is not what it seems!

Yep, I used it, but I’m still a tight fucker – so there was no chance of me paying for a membership (not when there are illegal streaming sites about, anyway).

I basically ‘borrowed’ my dad’s login details, logged in about a week ago, and it’s still letting me use the service under his details to this date (sorry Amazon!).

Anyway – I’m quite impressed by the amount of little-known indie horrors on offer there,Β The Phoenix Tapes ’97 was one that stood out as a Found Footage feature, and it was.

I wasn’t 100% sure if I’d seen it before – more often than not these films change their titles and I get caught out. Some parts of it did feel a bit familiar, but overall I think it was a new one on me…

The Plot

In 1997, four campers went missing during the infamous Phoenix Lights incident and their bodies were never found. This is their last, known footage. The campers’ whereabouts are still unknown.

IMDb Silence

The maddest thing about this film is that it hasn’t even got an IMDb page – even the shittiest of shit Found Footage movies take the time to create a page for their film…but this lot didn’t bother!

That left me wondering about the title angle – was this film originally released under a different name?

Anyway, if any of you know the answer to this – let us know in the comment section below.

From what I gather, and there’s little to go on online, the director and cast of this film have been completely hidden to make the project seem more ‘real’ – could this be the reason it didn’t bother listing itself on IMDb?


Pretty damn good to be honest with you – not a classic, but certainly deserving of a mention on this site!

The plot is set over the backdrop of the events which took place in the skies over Phoenix, AZ, in March of 1997 – The Phoenix Lights.

Yep, there have been a handful of other Found Footage films that have latched on to this event…but not all of them are as good as this one.

Character-wise, by found footage standards, the four main characters were a little bit ‘hollow’ overall – the movie doesn’t really take time to go into each one that deeply. But, the film only runs for 67 minutes, and it kinda works when you don’t know much about the four lads in the middle of the shit.

All you need to know is that they can act – and they did a pretty decent job on this movie.

The film seemed to travel well too, mainly due to the runtime being short, therefore they could avoid any irritating builds to the plot. They get to the desert, have a few beers, hear a few noises in the night and BANG – full on Found Footage horror!

I kinda wish more movies would do this – get to the point and keep us gripped early on.

Cinematography was well above average, and the SFX/Aliens/UFOs were also decent enough to convince.

The longer I sit here – the more I realize that there isn’t really anything I want to complain about in this film. It’s just straightforward, no-nonsense Found Footage that cuts out any unnecessary crap.

As I stated above – not a classic, but I’d definitely watch it again at some point in the future.

One to look out for.



  1. Well Chris your exactly right as to why there’s no imdb page for the movie. If it’s the one i remember(there are several different Pheonix Tapes movies, almost like a chronicle if you will) they have their own promo site where they make it look like a conspiracy as why these guys weren’t found.
    Another note, you haven’t used Prime video until now!? Bro your missing out. No other legit streaming service has more found footage movies in my experience. Me and my brother take turns on Prime payments by the year and reap the benefits. Allot of people do it and Amazon know’s it so don’t feel too bad.

    • Well that would make sense – cheers Albedo! πŸ™‚

      Yeah, after about a week of using Prime I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s only just slightly less irritating than the streaming sites…
      It doesn’t have the dodgy adverts but it does have an absolute ton of shit movies to shift through!
      Still, it’s good fun looking for the needle in the haystack (try out ‘There Are Monsters’ – very enjoyable low budget horror on there!)

      • Man that was awesome! As someone who’s favorite movies list features Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, i enjoyed the hell out of that.

        • Cool – glad you enjoyed it Willie!
          Invasion of The Body Snatchers is an awesome film as well (all versions of it!)

  2. Your constant boasting about illegal downloads cheapens your reviews. If you must steal from filmmakers, at least have the decency to keep quiet about it. It is sleazy and low class to brag about minor cheating.

    • I was in two minds whether to bother replying to this, but, seeing as I’m in a bad enough mood today…

      Have you ever borrowed a DVD or BluRay off a mate? There – you’ve stolen off the filmmakers!

      Your suggestions are quite ludicrous.

      Secondly, I get over 1000 unique NEW visitors/fans to this site per day – you are the first to complain about me mentioning streaming sites. Maybe you should be asking yourself why?

      Third point – if you enter a house and don’t like it’s decorations – leave. This is my house, and the content is my decorations, if you don’t like it, leave!

      You could always visit that so-called ‘Found Footage Critic’ down the way – I heard he’s a master at boring the fuck out of his visitors and he dislikes streaming sites…

      Sorry to be so blunt but I’m Welsh – we are not bred to suffer fools easily.

      Have a good day! πŸ™‚

      • 1. Good point Chris
        2. I highly doubt anyone who’s on this site would have a problem with the “viewing methods”. Especially since it’s the only way most of these films will get viewed by anyone. You gotta build a following somehow. With piracy protection, less is more. Give consumers freedom and if your product is good enough they’ll buy it. They’ll actually seek it out and scream “take my money”. For anyone who disagrees, look at gaming piracy and how that goes.
        3. Burn!

        I used that site every now and then, found it first actually, but definitely gravitate here more. You don’t have as much content BUT all of your stuff is reviewed and importantly, has personality. The other site has a shit ton of movies but its not detailed enough. allot of the movies I see on their haven’t even come out yet but somehow have reviews on it months ahead of time >.> .

        P.S. No apologizing!

        • Yeah I’ve noticed that as well…I came to the conclusion that he’s writing reviews without watching the movies? I dunno – he’s not my biggest fan (I have received some anonymous contacts/messages off someone who has the whiff of that site!) πŸ™‚
          P.S. – Definite BURN!

  3. Well, I have a step daughter that seriously loves horror films, so I will definitely be telling her about this one since I am positive she has never even heard of it. I love Amazon Prime. There is so much on it! 

    I find it mad how this genre has evolved with topics since the Blair Witch years – hopefully she’ll like these kinds of films as well. 

    • I’m sure she will Angie – just pick the classic Found Footage films and I’m sure she’ll be an addict in no time at all! πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Chris – thanks for sharing this entertaining article. I have not heard of this movie before, so I was interested to see what you made of it. As you seemed to enjoy it, I went to check out some other reviews, which are pretty mixed. Hilarious that some people seem to think its a real documentary! If its only on Amazon Prime, I don’t think I’ll bother – not at £4.49 anyway! All the best, Diane  

    • Oh you always get the people that are convinced that FF movies are real – there’s not enough medication in the world for them! πŸ™‚

      Don’t bother paying on Amazon – just stream it for free online! (I didn’t say that!). 

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