In the dead of night, Malik Khan (Rogue One’s Riz Ahmed) suddenly turns up at the home of his young sons Jay (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby (Aditya Geddada). Though he hasn’t seen them in years, he’s intent on whisking them away on top-secret business. But is the mission—and the implied alien threat behind it—real, or all in Malik’s head?
That’s the set-up for Encounter, a new thriller with sci-fi overtones that’s arriving early next month. The intense new trailer has arrived and it certainly couldn’t make the film’s central conflict any more ambiguous.
The official description is also deliberately vague: “A decorated Marine goes on a rescue mission to save his two young sons from a mysterious threat. As their journey takes them in increasingly dangerous directions, the boys will need to leave their childhoods behind.” In the trailer, we certainly see some of the surreal, wild things that have convinced Malik of an extraterrestrial situation. But are we just witnessing the perspective of an unreliable, possibly paranoid character—and could all that law enforcement just be pursuing a dad who’s maybe kidnapped his kids? Even Malik’s son isn’t sure whether to believe his father or not, and it’s clear the aim of the film is to keep you guessing.
Ahmed (an Oscar nominee for last year’s Sound of Metal; beyond the realm of Star Wars, he’s also appeared in Venom, Nightcrawler, The OA, and The Night Of) has proven himself to be an exciting actor no matter what genre he steps into, and Encounter looks to give him another showcase role. Directed by Michael Pearce (Beast) who co-wrote with Joe Barton (The Ritual), Encounter also stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Rory Cochrane (Oculus, Antlers). The film hits theaters on December 3, then releases on Prime Video December 10.
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