Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: The Blair Witch Project

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Just watch the X-Files.

John Klein (Richard Gere), a respected journalist, loses his wife (Debra Messing) one night, after she takes the wheel of their car and sees a strange figure attack her. Cut to two years later and John has found himself in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where there has apparently been many sightings/clues of a secret ghost out there, and John thinks he has the answers to all of the clues.

Saying that your movie’s story, no matter how creepy or strange it may be, is a “true story” or “based on a true story”, makes it seem like such a manipulative-way for the filmmakers to have us take the material more seriously. I mean, it did somehow work with movies like the Blair Witch Project and Cannibal Holocaust, but that was all because it looked and felt real, and also, nobody really had any idea whether to prove it false or not. However, stories like these where everything dark in the world seems to come up, doesn’t make it more freaky because it’s “based on a true story,” but instead, how about this, just makes it more dull.

However, don’t go up to director Mark Pellington and tell him that this material is, in fact, “dull”, because he’ll try his hardest to prove you wrong with any trick he can pull out of his director’s hat. Every chance that Pellington gets to make us forget what type of lame story we’re seeing, he capitalizes on it and gives us something to treat our eyes and for the most part, yeah, it actually works. The constant barrage of tricks and effects that Pellington pulls off aren’t all stuff we haven’t seen done before, but at least he makes a conscientious effort to really pull us into this state of paranoia and fear. You can tell that Pellington comes from a long line of directing music-videos, and it works for the overall atmosphere and tone of the movie.

The color blue is always a sign that something bad is 'a brewin'.

The color blue is always a sign that something bad is ‘a brewin’.

But just like most directors who have a music-video background, they just can’t quite get the narrative.

See, with Pellington’s direction,  no matter how hard he tries to keep our minds off of it, he still can’t get past the fact that this story is relatively boring. The pace is always off, with the plot constantly starting-and-stopping, and then never knowing how to pick itself back up again. Pellington knows how to freak us out, but to keep our interest is a whole other issue right then and there, and it’s hard to keep total invested interest.

As for the story, it isn’t terrible; there’s an idea of an mystery and having no idea what’s going to happen next, but it happens in such short spurts that it hardly almost matters. We get way too many scenes where it’s just Gere talking to some weird thing on the phone and says something disastrous is going to happen, it does end-up happening, and Gere runs around looking for an explanation by talking to random people as well as that weird thing. You can only watch Richard Gere run around, looking like a bewildered-fool so many times, and by the 45-minute mark of already seeing this 20 times, it’s hard not to be done here.

And oh yeah, Gere is terribly bland as John Klein and even though it seems like the dude should have more emotions and ideas in his because he for one, went through a terrible life-crisis like losing his lovely wife, somehow doesn’t. Instead, you don’t care about him, the paranoia he’s going through, the sadness he went through with his lost wife, and worst of all, you just don’t feel like the guy’s actually scared. Yeah, Gere puts on that scared-expression plenty of times, but it came to a point of where it seemed like the only skill the guy could pull out of his one-note bag of expressions and it made me realize why I have never cared for Gere in the first place.

Something I sure he’s really broken up about.

Generic Richard Gere look #2

Generic Richard Gere look #2

Laura Linney is pretty dull here, too, as the country bumpkin police officer that made me want to give Frances McDormand a call. Linney’s does what she can, but all she really does is put the same expression on as Gere has, try to look scared the whole time, and in the end, somehow act like she’s the one after his heart and can save him from all of this pain and fear he’s had to deal with throughout the past two years of his life. I’d be able to believe that these two would have some sort of a romance between one another, if the film ever alluded to it throughout the whole two hours, but it rarely ever does and when it seems like Linney goes all goo-goo eyes over Gere at the end, it was just dumb and a contrived way for the movie to bring these two together at the end. An end that was, yes, pretty cool to look at, but also, an end that signified that this long movie was finally over and I could get on with my life, forget about Gere, forget about Linney, and hopefully, watch a better movie before the day was up.

Consensus: Mark Pellington is a fine director that does all that he can to keep us awake throughout the Mothman Prophecies, but the script and story think otherwise, and sort of carry everything down with a dead-weight of total and complete dullness.

3 / 10

What I should have done from this movie.

What I should have done from this movie.

Photos Courtesy of: Thecia.Com.Au


Blair Witch (2016)

Seriously, where the hell were you Heather? We needed you.

Nearly 15 years after Heather, Josh, and Mikey went out into the middle of the Burkitsville woods, Heather’s younger brother (James Allen McCune) decides that after all of this time, he needs to go out there and find her. Alll he really has to judge is by a bunch of grainy-footage that showed up on the internet somewhere and because of that, he decides to go out there with a few of his friends and check out what’s shaking. Equipped with all sorts of cool gadgets and recording-devices, the friends meet up with some local residents, not just to find Heather and anybody else who may be out there, but to also discover what all of this witch business is about. They eventually find the answer, although it all comes at a great and deadly cost.

No matter what all of the naysayers, the Blair Witch Project was, and still is, a great horror flick. At the time of its release, it was a cultural phenomena because of everybody assuming it was all real, with the actual actors either “missing” or “dead”, and nothing like it had ever been done before. Of course, it was all a joke and awesome gag that made everyone involved filthy, stinkin’ rich, but it also ushered in a whole slew of other found-footage, first-person-narrative horror flicks. Of course, a good portion of them have been bad, but every so often, you get a good one that makes you understand the power and impact that the format can hold.

Oh, relax! It was just a squirrel!

Oh, relax! It was just a squirrel!

The remake/rehash/reboot of that original flick, is not one of them.

In fact, it’s a perfect sign as to why the found-footage format, quite possibly, may have to go away.

And it’s a shock to say this, too, because director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett are two great voices in the horror world today who seem like they know a thing or two about delivering shocking, but fun horror. You’re Next is probably their best, with the Guest coming to a close second and here, it seems like they’ve taken a huge step back. For some reason, all of the excitement, all of the creativity, and all of the originality that seemed to be flowing through their blood, was somehow lost here.

Which leads me to wonder: Did they just not care? Or, did they care too much, but eventually, the studio got involved so much that their original version got taken away from them and they were left with this?

I don’t know what the answer may be, but either solution seems plausible. While they’re stuck with a thankless task of working with, what is, essentially, the same story of the original movie, they don’t seem to bring much to it. The technology is updated and of course, a nice touch, but that’s about it – everything is so rote, predictable and conventional that after awhile, it just feels like a check-list is being written while the movie is being made.

Except for the fact that this time, because technology has obviously improved and there’s a lot more CGI in flicks than ever before, everything now is so much bigger, louder and crazier that it actually betrays everything that the original film stood for. Made off of literally nickels and dimes, the Blair Witch Project worked best because it never always showed us everything that we had come to know and expect with horror movies; what the movie proved was that, sometimes, what’s in our imagination and what we picture in it, can honestly be the scariest thing of all. Here, however, nothing is left to the imagination, with us seeing a lot of wacky, odd-looking stuff, yet, none of it ever seems scary.

Oh my gosh! Sticks!

Oh my gosh! Sticks!

It’s all in our face and, in a way, boring.

Because now, yeah, we’ve seen it all before and it’s not as exciting as it may have been 17 years ago. That said, Blair Witch tries to make itself work for fans of the original, as well as fans of modern-day horror, who probably haven’t even bothered to see the original, which, in a way, means that it gets its job done. For someone such as myself, who loves and holds the original up in high-regard, it’s a problem, because it not only feels like a waste of time, but a silly idea that’s made even worse by the fact that it doesn’t seem to play by the same rules of the original.

And oh, before I forget, the acting here is quite atrocious. Say what you want about Heather, Josh, and Mikey from the original, but at least they could handle whatever script they had handed to them, making it seem like they were real people, trapped in a terrible, downright scary situation. Here, the actors can’t handle the script and the characters themselves are just so bland, so boring and so unlikable, that it’s hard to even care about what any of them do. This is all made worse by the fact that since there are literally cameras everywhere, watching and documenting everything that these actors do, they’re performances suffer more, showing that, sometimes, it helps to have good actors in these horror movies, regardless of how little you actually care about them and how much you actually care about the scares and the monsters themselves.

Sure, it’s a horror movie, but sometimes, well-written characters can actually make the scares all the more effective.

Don’t believe me? Just watch the Babadook. Now, that’s a horror movie.

Consensus: Predictable, uninteresting, and hardly even scary, Blair Witch is an obvious cash-grab that, despite the inspiration that usually lies with the creators, just feels like a waste of everyone’s time.

2 / 10

She's like Heather, but far more annoying. Crazy, right? Better believe it.

She’s like Heather, but far more annoying. Crazy, right? Better believe it.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire, Gadget Help Line

Humpday (2009)

If the ladies aren’t quite working out, might as well just go for your best bud. Always seems like a safe bet.

College friends Ben (Mark Duplass) and Andrew (Joshua Leonard) finally reunite after ten years and spend a night together where they get drunk, get high, and end up talking about having sex with each other on-screen. Yup, you heard right. They actually got around to having a discussion about boning one another in front of the screen. At first, it all seemed like a bunch of “drunken talk”, until the next day where the guys are still thinking about it and have to wonder if they want to go through with it, or not. And hell, if they do end up going through it, what the repercussions would be, as I’m sure there has to be plenty for having sex with your best pal.

Alright, for all of the dudes out there, have you ever had a best bro-friend that you can talk about anything with, do anything with, and just be yourself around 24/7? If yes, then you are like most men and if not, I’m sorry, but go find one of them right now. For the guys that do have one of them (myself included), it’s gotta be pretty weird once you think about you and that other guy actually doing anything more than just being simple, cool bro’s together. I mean sex with anybody can be very weird, but sex with your best male-friend? That’s just a whole ‘nother level of weird and that’s exactly the point that this moving brings up with good reason, but trust me, it’s not exactly what you think.

"Yeah, so, uhm.....about us banging?"

“Yeah, so, uhm…..about us banging?”

Writer/director Lynn Shelton deserves a lot of credit here for going all out with a premise that seems like the snarkiest premise ever put to film, and somehow making it a sweet, insightful tale about the idea of a “bromance” and how far it can, and can’t go. Shelton’s script-skills are impressive because the gal doesn’t really write that much dialogue, instead she just points the actors where to go in the movie, and allow them to just improvise on the spot with whatever the hell it is that they think is right for that exact moment. It’s a method that works very, very well for her and makes this film seem more natural and understated, rather than a shoe-horned story that needed to happen so people could really feel awkward in their seats.

However, that idea of awkwardness is still very present in this movie but it’s used in a way that isn’t just manipulating you to the point of where you feel like this film has nothing else to do with it’s premise; it’s more about how two friends can interact with each other about anything, but the topic of possibly exploring more between one another is where the line is drawn. Not only does it discuss the idea of what binds between a friendship, but also sexuality and not closing yourself off to what you think is right for you, and what may be out there for you as well. It’s a very strange topic that comes out in the strangest way possible, but it’s so honest with itself, to the point of where I felt like I really understood why two guy-pals would actually go so far as to even try and get it on with one another.

As with most mumblecore movies, you get a lot of the same, silent sequences where people don’t seem to be talking and instead just focus on “real-life situations” which, for the most part, are done well here but it sort of got tiresome after awhile. I think what I didn’t like about the mumblecore-aspect of this movie is that it allowed these actors to all improvise their shorts off and even though they are all fine and dandy with it, some scenes seem to drag-on too long and have these people just talk like they have a gun to their head and can’t come up with anything else. Improvisation is usually one of those tricks that can either make or break a film, and oddly enough, this is one of those films that makes it and breaks it a bit. But not by too much, though.

But, like I said, the improvising didn’t really destroy the movie as much as it could have, mainly because of the cast that’s here to deliver it and they all do perfect jobs with it. Mark Duplass is one of those actors who has really been growing on me as of late and needless to say, his role here as Ben makes me realize why. Duplass is just so charming, cool, and sweet, that you really understand why a guy like him would feel the need to not only do something as outlandish as this to prove that he’s not closing his mind-off to what’s out there in life, but also not forgetting to please his wife and make her as happy as she can be. He used to be a cool guy that hung-out and did gnarly stuff with his guy-friends, but now, is all grown-up, married, and on the verge of having kiddies, which makes him a bit of a softy now. Which, altogether, makes total sense why he would want to go through with something such as sex with his best-friend.

She's handling the whole "I'm your husband, and I want to have sex with my best-friend" idea very well.

She’s handling the whole “I’m your husband, and I want to have sex with my best-friend” idea surprisingly well.

Speaking of the said best-friend, Joshua Leonard plays Andrew very well and allows you to get past the fact that yes, he is Josh from the Blair Witch Project (wait, isn’t he dead?). But that shouldn’t be a claim-to-fame that ruins him as a serious actor because the guy’s got a talent that makes you see him more as a real dude, rather than just a caricature of this total nut that just does whatever he wants in life, without any rhyme or reason. What I liked about Leonard here is that he seems like there’s more to him than just a wild-cat, and we start to see more and more revealing aspects to him that make us understand why he would also go through with something like this and also, even push his friend to do the same. It’s a great role for a guy that I think deserves more distinguished ones and it’s also a chemistry between the two that just feels real and honest, and also makes the whole “having sex” idea between the two all the more believable, a it becomes all the more painful to actually watch them as they try to get it on. Not going to spoil anything here but the scene where it’s just the two of them in a hotel room is absolutely hilarious and probably the best scene of the whole movie, for many reasons that you’ll just have to wait and see yourself, my friends.

Playing Duplass’ wife in the movie, Alycia Delmore seems to have more to her than we already expected and it’s a nice touch for her. I’ve never seen this gal in anything else before, but she seems like she’s a really talented actress because she takes the role of the jealous, annoying wife, and makes her more understandable and sympathetic enough in terms of where her view-point’s coming from. Her character gets a little weird at times, too, but it’s a believable weird and it was nice to see Shelton not only play around with the boys’ emotions, but the girls’ as well.

Consensus: Two obviously straight, male best-friends, getting ready to have sex in front of a camera is a bit of an odd premise, but it’s one that Humpday rolls with and doesn’t stop exploring until all of the layers have been unveiled, and each character has their own say on everything around them.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!


“Let’s get to it, right? Don’t be gay though!”

Photos Credit to:

V/H/S/2 (2013)

People are still using video cameras? What about phone cameras?

Two private investigators break into his abandoned house, in search of a student who has apparently been declared “missing” by his mommy. The investigators get in the house, find out that it’s pretty creepy, but also find a stack of video-tapes that seem to have already been viewed or are just waiting to be. What these two see on these tapes is pretty fucked-up, but what’s more fucked-up is that half of the people taking this videos can’t help but put the camera down! Not even for a single second while all sorts of crazy shite is happening all around them!

I may have been in the minority with what I said about V/H/S, but I still stand by it to this day: I had a great time with the movie! Much like other anthology flicks, some pieces of the pie are better than others, but overall, it was a nice way to get me hyped-up about the found-footage genre once again, and also add some needed love and attention to it. Like I said, wasn’t perfect but sure as hell had it’s moments that made it worth it a watch, even while I sat in front of the television, hands in front of my eyes.

That’s why when I heard they were doing a second one that was not only going to be shorter, featuring less segments, and also so soon, I will admit that I got a tad bit scared, thinking that it’s one of those sequels trying too hard to cash in on the original. But thankfully, to my surprise, V/H/S 2 is just as fun as the original, however, still shows some faults that are more clearer to me now, because I know exactly what I’m going to get myself into with this one and I have the general idea of what to expect. Once again, like I did with the first, the best way to review this would be to focus on each and every segment as if they were their own thang because they actually are, they just so happen to be short and placed in the same movie. Not something a little YouTube search couldn’t fix.

Hey, you don't know what sort of problems they may have going on in their lives. Maybe there's a reason for them to all partake in a mass suicide.

Hey, you don’t know what sort of problems they may have going on in their lives. Maybe there’s a reason for them to all partake in a mass suicide.

Anyway, back to each, individual segment:

1. As our wrap-around story, we have Tape 49, that’s directed by Simon Barrett and is about the two private investigators hanging out in this obviously abandoned house, but yet, still get caught up in the eeriness of the place, as well as the tapes they find. Like with the first one, this one’s probably the weakest link of the whole movie, and not just because it continues to start-and-stop to let the other segments show up and work their magic, but because it just doesn’t make much sense and once it ends, you’re sort of left with the feeling as to “why?” I mean, the ending to this segment, and practically to this whole film, seemed like it was supposed to be the most epic and coolest thing this movie had going for itself, but was just weird and anti-climactic as hell. Hopefully they’ll explain more about this later in the 3rd (if they decide to have it), but until then; I remain scratching my head.

2. Phase 1 Clinical Trials was directed by Adam Wingard who seems to be really enjoying the whole idea of having the camera, actually planted in his retina so everything he can see, we can see as well. It’s a fun idea that’s used well for the most part, but as the dude runs throughout the house, where ghosts and ghouls randomly show up, it becomes repetitive and boring. Also probably didn’t help matters that every scare in this segment is a jump-scare that builds on the intensity of the situation by having barely anybody or anything make any sort of noise, only to turn the volume up to 100, and blind-side us out of nowhere. It’s a lazy way to scare us, and must have also been Wingard’s way of making sure we were awake early on, because this segment sure as hell wasn’t keeping us alive and kicking.

Thankfully, it gets real, real better for us and our attention-spans:

3. A Ride in the Dark seemed like a dumb idea at first, but really won me over as it got more and more stupid, whereas also getting very original with what it had to say and do about the zombie-genre. Of course, you can’t have a found-footage flick without the ones who made it up the most famous in the first place, Blair Witch directors Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale, and you can tell that these two haven’t missed a step because what starts out as a bit of a dumb, unoriginal concept of a dude biking in the woods, gets bitten by a zombie, and becomes the zombie; turns out to be using those conventions to it’s advantage. The whole segment takes every zombie cliche you could ever think of (to the thirst for blood, the fact that they can’t run, are dumb, have no emotion for human-life, etc.) all gets turned upside down on it’s head and it kept me laughing, entertained, and ready for more and more blood, gore and laughs as it continued on. Whenever you hear or see a person talking about this movie, most likely the next segment I’m about to talk about will be getting all of the love and attention, but to me; this was the one that was sort of the unsung hero to me as it did something smart, with something dumb, and made it enjoyable for us all to watch. Let’s hope these guys stay with filming the POVs, and stay away from going back to regular filmmaking. They don’t need that shite!

"'Mon bitch. Bring it on, you P-O-V-looking muthafucka."

“‘Mon bitch. Bring it on, you P-O-V-using muthafucka.”

4. As I stated just a couple moments ago, everybody will be ranting and raving about Safe Haven, directed by Gareth Evans, and rightfully so too: it’s funny, twisty, turny, random, outrageous, crazy, fun, and very entertaining. The story of a bunch of filmmakers going to a secret cult and checking it all out is already strange as it is, but it continues to get nuttier and nuttier as the segment roles on and to go any further about it, would be getting closer and closer to spoiler-territory. It makes a big difference too because what this segment relies on the most, is having us not know what to expect next as Evans is practically pulling whatever he can find out of his ass, throwing it on the screen, and allowing us to pick it, if we choose so. I did, and I feel like you will too.

5. Lastly, the movie ends on another wild note with Alien Abduction Slumber Party, which is exactly what you’d expect from a title like that: a bunch of kids have a slumber party, only to have it ruined by a bunch of aliens and their abducting-ways. Director Jason Eisener definitely has the hard task of ending this flick out on a solid note, and does a nice enough job to keep us entertained and interested, but also feels a bit too goofy and stupid to really get a liking to. And just like with the 2nd segment, the horror here is mainly just from loud noises, seemingly coming out of nowhere, once things are all quiet and calm. Didn’t work well on me the first time, and sure as hell not the second. Oh well, can’t win ’em all, now can you?

Consensus: Even if it isn’t as good as it’s predecessor, V/H/S 2 is still fun, uneven, random, crazy, original at times, and always something to look at, even if you can’t believe the stories or the people documenting them.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

Guess they didn't have them in HD?

Guess they didn’t have them in HD?

Halloween Horror Movie Month: The Last Exorcism (2010)

Girls who still go to sleep in night-gowns are definitely possessed.

Ready to expose his miraculous deeds as mere trickery, Rev. Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) invites a documentary crew to film his final exorcism. But when the devil actually possesses a girl’s body, Marcus must regain his faith and engage in the fight of his life.

You put two great horror classics together, ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ and ‘The Exorcist‘, and you get this. Now I know they’re could have been a better way to combine those two films, or at least better than this crap.

The film is shown in the usual “found footage” way that has practically plagued horror ever since the first idea of ‘Paranormal Activity‘ was talked about. Some films use it the right way, like Paranormal Activity, others don’t. This is one of those that actually don’t.

Director Daniel Stamm does a pretty good job in the beginning of the film, of actually creating this creepy and pretty realistic look at a Reverend who takes up one last job of performing an exorcism on this girl. Stamm is able to create some pretty tense moments of suspense and mystery because you never quite know what just is going to happen next with these unpredictable people at-hand and the lack of many CG effects and gore actually help the way this film looks and feels.

However, where Stamm fails is actually in convincing us that this story could ever be real, because none of it ever feels like that. When you are filming something in a documentary style, it’s always best to use one camera and no score or soundtrack to convey a creepy mood considering that’s what makes it seem even scarier. However, the film starts to dive into the constant, multi-camera editing and the score that all seem misplaced and take a lot away from this film and make it seem more like an indie feature with a very low budget.

The writing is also pretty bad too because everything just got very silly, real quick. These sort of films usually depend on improvisation for its “realistic factor”, but the film uses a very tight-script with characters that just spout out lines like they were from a natural horror film, or just a film none the less. The ending is also somewhat atrocious as it just starts to dive into some pretty familiar territory that we have seen done before and to even worse effect here by how stupid and dumb it gets.

Two great performances from this cast is probably what really kept me watching this film. Patrick Fabian is very charming as this arrogant, and sort of cocky reverend named Cotton Marcus. This guy is really entertaining to watch on screen because he seems like a pretty real dude that seems like he would do the right thing, in any situation because he is a good guy and pretty honest one as well. I believed him more as just a regular dude, rather than just another yelling and howling preacher boy.

Ashley Bell is also very good as Nell Sweetzer because it’s all about the look with her, and she owns it. Bell is actually in her mid-20’s in real-life, so it’s a little hard to believe her as a teenager here but she makes us see her as this troubled, teenage virgin who is so messed up that the quiet scenes, she’s very good with but as well as the other scenes where she just totally loses all control. But still, she looked like she was 30 while she was playing a 16-year old. Maybe in the 80’s you could have gotten away with this, but now in 2011, it’s a lot more noticeable.

Consensus: The Last Exorcism features some thrills and two good performances from this cast, but overall features too much silly writing that totally loses itself by the end, and a low-budget direction that actually makes this film seem less realistic and more of just an indie production.


Cloverfield (2008)

A gimmick used well.

A going-away party in Manhattan is interrupted when a mysterious monster of epic proportions launches an attack on New York City. With camcorder in hand, a small group of friends make their way out into the chaotic streets, scrambling to stay alive.

Producer J.J. Abrams probably saw Godzilla way back in the day and thought it was awesome, and then saw The Blair Witch Project in 1998 and thought that was awesome too. Never would I have imagined, such a combination of two.

People will complain about the gimmicky camera use and how it made people sick and throw-up, but for me I really did like this element. I felt like I was there through all of the mayhem, and what this film does so well with the camera use, is how it doesn’t show us everything that’s going on and doesn’t spoil too much for us so it keeps the juices flowing in our system.

Director Matt Reeves also does a great job of creating this claustrophobic atmosphere of where we feel trapped in the city but it also brings out some of the best scares in any horror film. The film focuses more on what’s going on off-screen, rather than on it and I thought that was what scared me the most. You’ll probably get a lot of jump scares out of this, but with no score music at all, you never know just when their going to happen.

My main problem with this film is that the script, and yes there is a script, just feels so fake and dumb. With a lot of  “found footage” films, the one thing that always does it for me is how realistic the acting and what they say is. Here, it doesn’t feel all that realistic. The script is terrible, and you can already tell from the first 20 minutes that this is just going to be corny line, after corny line and it totally just annoyed me at how these people would talk.

Without giving too much away in this film, they decide to go back for someone, and it was a completely stupid idea because they go right to the middle of Center City, where all of the havoc is. If that was me, I would be out of that city right away and no turning back. The acting is also pretty bad too but then again, I guess you have to realize that this film is all about the spectacle and less about the actual story and characters that inhabit it. I also noticed that a lot of these people are way too good looking for this material. This may sound like a dumb complaint, but you can’t tell me that any of these people actually look like you or me. Especially Odette Yustman. Now that is what I call sexy.

Consensus: Though it has problems with it’s script and the dumb things that usually are done by all characters in every single horror film, Cloverfield is well-filmed, scary, and at-times, clever gimmick. However, it’s a gimmick that works and makes you feel like you’re on a roller-coaster, including the nauseating side-effects.


The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Who wants to go on a camping trip now?

Brash student filmmakers Heather (Heather Donahue), Josh (Joshua Leonard) and Mike (Michael Williams) march into the woods near Burkittsville, Md., to make a documentary about the legendary Blair Witch, who’s credited with a string of heinous murders dating back 200 years. But the trio loses their way and soon find themselves surrounded by a malignant terror.

This is some brilliant marketing right here. Back in 1999 when this film was first being talked about, the filmmakers used the internet and word-of-mouth to actually make people think this was actually real. Although it wasn’t real, it’s still scary as anything.

The one real great thing about this film is from a technical stand-point its amazing. The use of camera-work is used so well because although it may be a little bit nauseating, especially when it’s moving all-over-the-place, you still feel like you’re right there with these three people, lost in the woods and trying desperately to find your way out. There is also no actual soundtrack, so the only real sounds are the sounds you would actually hear in the woods, which makes the scares equally as scary because everything here is all about noise. You hear the rustle of the trees, or the sounds of rocks hitting each other, and automatically the hair on your neck sticks right up.

Let’s also not forget to mention that this film is terrifying, without even showing anything. There is no violence, no blood, and no boogy man, or at least no boogy man that we actually see. This is what scared the most out of me because all the action that is happening, is happening off-screen and although we see nothing, our imagination is still running wild, which proves that sometimes what your mind makes up is even scarier than what you actually see. There was such a small budget here, or lack there of, but I still got more scared here by nothing, whereas many other Hollywood horror films do nothing to me. This just shows that showing nothing, can still work.

My only problem with this whole film is a little one, but still kind of took me away from the film. In the beginning of the film, Heather is talking about these books she read up on called “Surviving in the Woods”, but if she really read up on it, she would have known to just follow the way the water in the creek is going and eventually you would find land or something. This kind of took me away from the film since this seemed pretty reasonable, but then again, I still was involved with everything that was going on.

The acting from these three basically unknown actors is what makes this film work even more. Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams all do terrific jobs in their own parts because they all feel real. In a film that needed realistic acting, these three give that because all the scenes where they are talking, or walking, or just being scared shit less all seem real. Even though it may not be a “real story”, you still can’t help but admire how these three take their roles, and make it seem completely realistic.

Consensus: It may not be a true story, like the film suggests, but the scares here work because you see nothing, there is no big-budget special effects, and its all about feeling and atmosphere, which makes it all feel so realistic, and equally as terrifying.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

Man Bites Dog (1993)

Without this, there would be no Blair Witch Project, or anything with hand-held cameras.

Spoofing reality television, a fascinated documentary crew follows a charismatic yet unrepentant serial killer (Benoit Poelvoorde) on his murder sprees. The crew attempts to objectively document the horror, but as the violence escalates, they ultimately get sucked into participating.

The film starts off with showing us a murder that this dude commits, and right away you get a sense of what this film is going to be all about: bloody, disturbing, mockumentary.

I’ll give most of the credit to this film for actually doing its best job, even at such a small budget. There is a lot of writing here that still sticks with us almost 17 years after the film was completed. The themes about how reality TV makes all these terrible people look like superstars, has us murdering the normal people in the world. Behind all of the grisly killings, there is actually a couple of good dark laughs, mostly like real life, where not everything is so damn serious.

I have to say that this movie is probably one of the most disturbing films I have seen in a long time. I know it’s not a real documentary, and this dude is made up, and these people aren’t actually murdered like this, but it all seemed so real and that’s why it was effective. Some of the killings are so random and disgusting, that you just have to turn your head. As the murders keep piling on, the viewer starts to feel what the “film crew” starts to feel, utter and total disbelief of whats going on, but still amazed at the same time.

I had a couple of problems with this film however, mostly being other people’s problems too. I feel like the killer’s motives were never ever really told. I mean we do eventually get a little montage of this guy talking about how much the world is a desecrating place cause of problems, yadda yadda yadda. But we never really fully understand as to why this guy kills so many freakin’ people at random. Also, it kinds of hard to believe that this guy wouldn’t at least once get caught with a murder. i mean sometimes his killings are so sloppy, and ill-prepared, that somebody had to have at least found out about him sometime.

Benoit Poelvoorde is not a very well-known actor to us Americans, because he’s always taking appearances in French films, and its a shame, cause here is some real talent. Just like Michael Rooker, from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, he starts out all charming and normal, but as soon as you see him commit these murders hes a totally different person.

Consensus: Man Bites Dog may have its problems with the motives of its main killer, but is so so brilliantly acted, directed, and written, that almost everything you see in this film, no matter how disturbing, all seems so real.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

Paranormal Activity (2009)

Don’t go to sleep!

The movie centers on a young couple, Katie and Micah, who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. The movie is presented through the camera set up by the couple to capture the paranormal activity.

Now with any mockumentary horror film, right from the get go you know there’s going to be contrasts to The Blair Witch Project, and I can ultimately see why. The atmosphere is creepy, no script with very unknown actors, films the same way, and no soundtrack what so ever. However, I found this even freakier than Blair Witch, which really is one of my favorite horror films of all-time.

The film starts out really all nice and happy, and although there’s little thumps here and there it’s really nothing serious. But then when things start to pick up, it starts getting shit crazyyy!!!

First of all, the real reason why Paranormal works is because the special effects look so real. I have no clue how they did some of these scenes but almost every scene feels and just looks so legit, that it actually feels like your watching a documentary happen, right in front of your eyes.

Secondly, the acting in this film is top-notched probably cause all the film is just ad-libbing but the two stars Micah and Katie are actually a very believable couple, and when they are freaked they look and sound freaked out it’s not this usual scream fest to get a cheap scare. Also believe it or not in this hugely suspenseful scary movie, there is some comedy from Micah and his little one-liners that are more clever than most think.

Lastly, the real reason to see this film would definably have to be is seeing it in the theaters. This is what real cinema is all about. I was packed with my sister in a sold-out crowd in an IMAX theater, and as soon as the lights went out you know it was going down. I was really freaked out but the whole crowd was even more freaked out with me so I didn’t really feel alone. But if you do go and see this film, hurry up and look for it to the closest theater near you cause I can assure you it’s the full crowd experience which is just amazing.

Though I really did like this film it did have it’s problems. I really liked Micah in this film but I though the decisions in this film were so dumb that it really just made me yell “THE HOUSE IS CRAZYYYY GETT OUTTT!!!”. He starts insulting and leading on the demon throughout the whole film and while your sitting there watching your wondering if this guy want’s to die. Also, there are many points in this film where I would just be out of that house right away no matter what.

I think the other thing that Blair Witch really had going for itself that we all kind of thought that the whole film was actually real. When I went into this film I know it wasn’t real so that kind of brought down the realistic factor for me, but ultimately that’s probably not even much of a bad thing.

The whole film basically just leads up all the way to the end of the film, and when the ending happens your flipping out the whole time. I flipped, my sister flipped, every one in that theater must have flipped, cause when the ending is all said and done with you will be so effected by this movie.

Consensus: With a low-budget look and realistic effects, Paranormal Activity is one of those mockumentaries that will make you feel like everything you are seeing is real, and all the scares you get are absolutely worth it.

9/10=Full Priceee!!

Quarantine (2008)

It’s The Blair Witch Project, without the witch.

While on assignment shadowing firemen, a Los Angeles news reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) get trapped in a quarantined apartment complex with a vicious unknown killer. With all forms of communications cut, the news crew keeps the cameras rolling as they search for a way to escape rabies-infected zombies.

The film is a remake of the Spanish horror film REC. This remake is almost an entire shot for shot remake with a few exceptions such as added scenes and dialogue. I have never seen the original but God now I do.

The way of the camera documentary feel works so well in this film. Everything starts out normal, all fine and dandy, and soon everything starts getting out of control. The one thing I liked about this film is that it was a lot more vicious than I thought it would be and added a more of a scare factor to this film.

All the things they do with this film all create the amazingly frightening atmosphere. The one thing I thought was even creepier were how the cops and the rest outside of the hotel were as dangerous as the inside. They came off as people who were there to help them and care for them but they start killing whoever tries to leave, and the film gets its claustrophobic feeling from that and made it all the more creepy. Also the use of no score music if any music made it even creepier, as all this film relied on were the sound effects, which provided a huge taste of realism.

There were a lot of dumb problems with this film though. I didn’t understand why these people were so dumb. i mean honestly if you see a person bleeding from head to toe coming at you that’s foaming from the mouth wouldn’t you at least try to kill that person, I know I would. Also the way this apartment looks made it look like a cut from The Munsters. The rooms had like only little lamps in the house and barely any lighting which I found very dumb.

Jennifer Carpenter, who many may remember from Exorcism of Emily Rose, still has those lungs to belch out the screams. Though I thought she was very believable in this film, I just felt at times she yelled just to yell and add a scarier effect. Many of the other side characters are good to and each are very believable.

The one thing I have to say about this film which is not really it’s fault but how we all know this isn’t real so we aren’t that scared. In Blair Witch we actually thought all those people were dead and their last couple of hours were caught on film, but with this we know the outcome. I think many films nowadays need something that just makes it all seem real, to provide an even scarier feeling.

Consensus: Quarantine uses an uninspired way of filming but still delivers some scares with an amazingly creepy and claustrophobic atmosphere, make this film one of the scariest horror films that I have seen in awhile. See this in a huge group of friends.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!