Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
This week’s recommendation, Incident at Raven’s Gate (Netflix only), takes us to a land down under, where women flow and men plunder. (Possibly not the actual song lyrics.) Aliens, conspiracies, loose women, dead sheep, creepy helium voices…there’s really something for everyone here.
The general premise of Raven’s Gate immediately and perhaps unfortunately calls to mind the infinitely superior Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The comparison is basically inescapable; some versions even have the word ‘Encounter’ instead of ‘Incident’ in the title.
But while there are certain cosmetic similarities to Spielberg’s sci-fi masterpiece, Raven’s Gate is no mere knockoff. In fact, in many ways it’s the antithesis of Close Encounters: it’s much more intimate in scope and far more ambiguous about the nature of its mysterious phenomenon. I suggest thinking of it as an unpretentious version of M. Knight Shyamalan’s Signs, set in and around Wally’s outback bar from Crocodile Dundee. (Remember: surprise Donk with a kiss instead of a punch and he’ll drop that beer every time.)
Added Bonus: See that short government scientist dude who I (racistly) assumed was Indian? Recognize him? That man is none other than Mr. Terry Camilleri. And who might that be, you say? Oh, no one special. Just this guy.