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This is another of those movies where the players themselves are
handling the cameras instead of an off-camera camera crew. This type of
movie making which we see more and more of, I feel, was spear-headed by
a popular movie made some time ago called the Blair Witch Project. I
generally don't like it because (1) they don't seem movie "ish".
Rather, they seem more like a real-life or real-people amateur
production. And (2) sometimes the hand held cameras are visually
annoying because of their jerkiness. Consequently, I feel more like a
"voyeur" to something than a movie-goer. As well, this type of
filmmaking requires that at least one of the characters continue to
film no matter how dire or life-threatening the circumstances which
strains credibility. Notwithstanding all of that I was not bothered by
the camera work of this film. It was actually very good; creative.
An aspiring young filmmaker (Adam) and his buddy (David) travel to Wisconsin to do a documentary interview called "Life After Reality" with Meredith Phillips who is a reporter there; a job she took after spending some time on a TV reality show. When they get to the TV studio Meredith seems weary and preoccupied and doesn't want to do the documentary. Frustrated, Adam storms out of the studio to his van outside with a worried David on his heels asking "Now what?" To which Adam responds, "I'll think of something". Meantime, back in the studio, Meredith's producer says she has an assignment for her; the "Fowler Case" where twin girls were killed. However the producer can't spare any of her camera people (you can probably guess where this is going). -By the way, this conversation is being filmed for us --the viewing audience-- by a small camera in a bag that Adam conveniently forgot when he left in a huff.
Meredith comes out and basically says that she'll give the boys their documentary interview if they agree to be her film crew on the Fowler case. And so, off goes the trio in David's camera bedecked van to Leadville where the crime occurred . When they get there the sheriff is reluctant to cooperate but Meredith's persistence wins out and the sheriff agrees to talk to them. After some conversation and viewing some evidence, Meredith tells the sheriff that she needs to see the Fowler house (Fowler is the paternal name of the twins). At this point, we begin to see signs of Meredith's self-absorption, tactlessness, stubbornness and recklessness. Possibly viewing this as her big break. This is supported by an earlier comment: "All I ever get are bullsh!t lifestyle assignments". Anyway she says the wrong things and the sheriff kicks them out with a warning to not go to the Fowler place. I think you know what happens next.
At times this movie feels like a real-life amateur road-trip video because of going from place to place with cameras in tow. There's a bit of hard music in this movie ("riot rock" I call it). A little gore but it was animal. Some violence but nothing explicit. A bit of blood (on the floor). Some of this attributed to brief inserted scenes showing what the killer IS up to or HAS BEEN up to. The timing was not clear to me. Even though nothing particularly eventful happens until after about 50 mins into it (the whole thing is about 70 mins), I found the movie interesting until the very end which I didn't like. As well, the actors at this point looked like doubles. I couldn't be sure. Meredith seemed to have gained weight. But then again she always had her jacket on until that point, so who knows? But even earlier I was feeling disaffected because I did not understand a scene where Meredith was up against a big brute and all she had as a weapon was a heavy wood torch. She hit's the guy with it and stuns him. As he starts to get back up she throws it away. WTF???? So I have to ask: Reader, would you have done that? I clearly hear you saying "Hell, no!" Me neither. Love, Boloxxxi.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
the synopsis of this movie reads pretty sweet, but don't be fooled.
there has been a lot potential for sure, but this movie falls short on
almost every level.
first of all choosing the genre of horror movie about people who do an amateur documentation is always a bad choice. one reason being that you instantly exclude a part of he target audience, because if you are a movie enthusiast then you can only take a certain amount of steadycam/surveillance cam movies. i accepted and not really liked blair witch project, but after blair witch one and two, paranormal activities one and two, rec one and two and uncountable other attempts i am not creeped out by this kind of stuff AT all. don't get me wrong, none of those named examples was truly good, but they were at least better than this.
only two movies come to mind that have a deserving place in that category: man bites dog and cannibal holocaust. the rest were unnecessary.
as for the movie itself it is basically blair witch project meets hostel, with a bit of cannibal holocaust thrown in and to round it up a grain of cabin fever.
also, they are concentrating too much on the protagonists Rather then the story of the two girls as the protagonists were badly written. they were boring, bland and unsympathetic.
i found the actual storyline a bit weird and hard to follow. or was there nothing to follow?
nevertheless, with all those flaws they could have made it into an overall enjoyable movie, but there are two points that eventually ruined it.
first of all the torture stuff. don't get me wrong, i have seen some sick movies in my life, some that might damage a fragile soul for life, but from an innovation point: why the hell does each and every horror movie today has to involve a good portion of torture? what's the obsession there? it is not like it guarantees an instant hit. most of hem totally bomb at the box office. also, torture is not "scary" in the classic definition of a horror film, it is only disgusting. a horror film lives by suspense and the viewers feelings toward the characters. in this case we have neither.
and now for the worst part of it all (huge spoiler ahead!!!):
this movie had the most predictable and boring ending that i have seen since the late 80s slasher flood. you will see this coming at 30 minutes runtime the very latest.
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