Nick, Melissa, Hank, Catherine, and Kayla are all strangers to each other until they are forced to meet up at a quaint diner due to road closures one stormy night. Each has their own story and hurts, but the last thing they expect is to meet the mysterious owner of the diner, who calls himself Jesus. He knows many things about them that no one else knows but he actually demonstrates true care for them, something many of them have never experienced. Each of them must make the most important choice of their lives—will they listen to the words of Jesus or will they turn away?
Production Quality (.5 point)
The production pretty much derails this movie from the get go. For starters, the movie is purposely designed to have extremely limited sets—the movie only takes place a very small amount outside, partly inside vehicles, partly inside flashback locations, mostly inside the makeshift diner, and yes, inside the diner’s bathroom. The video quality is quite grainy and the camera work shaky. The sound quality is inconsistent. The only redeeming production quality is the editing, even though there is very little content to work with. In short, it would have done this movie wonders to have better production quality. With such a small cast and so few sets, there are no excuses to have such poor production.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Although the encounter with Jesus in modern times is not really a new plot, there is nothing inherently wrong with this particular rendition. The characters are pretty good and the flashbacks effectively enhance them, but once again, with so few characters, there was more time to develop them, yet this was not done. This sort of small scale plot depends entirely on the characters, and since the characters are just average, it’s not good enough. We needed to know more about these characters besides their favorite foods, their occupations, their parents, and their surface struggles. Again, the flashbacks are great, but more is needed. The spiritual\psychological elements in the plot are interesting, but the devil character is very cheesy. In short, this plot concept had a lot of potential—especially if more psychological elements had been explored—that was not brought to the surface. The final result is just a stock plot.
Acting Quality (1 point)
This cast seems better than a lot of PureFlix casts; even though there is really no acting coaching, the actors and actresses do a pretty good job by themselves. However, like the rest of this movie, more is needed. Similar to how the characters carry this sort of small scale plot, the actors and actresses are vital. Unfortunately, there is just not enough positive here.
Though David A. R. White is the director of The Encounter, he does not insert his usual cheesy flavor. But at the same time, dynamic elements are not present. The tools are there, but they are not picked up and used. The Encounter had the possibility to showcase a unique movie genre, but it was left hanging. This film likely joins a group of Christian films that deserve a remake.
Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points