Last year I said that The Blair Witch Project is a great film, and I will always stand by that statement. Sure, it unleashed a plague of cheap found footage garbage, but can you really blame the good thing for all the cheap knockoffs that follow? Speaking of cheap knockoffs, this year we're talking about Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, a mistake on just about every level. Sure, that sounds a bit unfair, but how else am I supposed to feel about a movie called "Book of Shadows" that doesn't ever feature--or even reference or mention--a spooky and/or witchy book? So the title is a lie, right out the gate? Fan-fuckin-tastic.
Don't you hate it when a movie gets spoiled by its trailer? I can't even begin to count the number of films where I watched the trailer and thought, "Well that's got to be 90% of the plot." Which brings me to Wer, a movie that makes you wonder whether the antagonist is actually supernatural or not, while the trailer flat out says, yeah, he's a werewolf.
I want to give this movie some credit: while a lot of found footage movies are incredibly cheap, The Monster Project had a budget for its monsters. I've absolutely seen worse effects in other movies, and the creatures here didn't look like ass. The problem is that this movie is really, really proud of its monsters. It takes every opportunity--once things kick off at the halfway point--to show you them in action. But that becomes a problem, because the more you see clear shots of a creature, the less frightening it becomes. We become inured to it and can grow bored with it. And I know this feels more like a third paragraph thing rather than an intro, but I wanted to get that out of the way first.
I love The Blair Witch Project. It's one of my favorite films (that I weirdly don't own), but it's by no means a perfect movie. Writers/directors Mr. Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick got amazing performances out of the small cast but through some rough means. And its financial success (under half $1 million budget against a $248.6 million box office) convinced every jackass with half an idea and a home movie camera that they too could make a found footage movie. But with those quibbles out of the way, now is my time to gush.
Ha ha HA!! I bet you saw the title and thought to yourself, "Oh thank god, he's finally done with all that Mothman shit." WELL THINK AGAIN, DEAR READER!! Turns out Tubi had one last movie with Mothman, and this time there's an actual Mothman in it! Sure, it was for two seconds, and it was actually a dream, and it looked like garbage, but still!
So a friend of mine enjoys a theory about The Blair Witch Project that says there was nothing supernatural in the movie at all; Josh and Mike were faking everything to fuck with Heather. While I can see someone having that galaxy brain take, I'm personally not a fan. Not that I'm opposed to fakeouts like that! It's just that when a movie intentionally goes for a twist like that it has to be done with care, otherwise you get something shitty like The Turning. Why bring this up when I'm going to be talking about yet another Mothman movie? Well...
I don’t think it’s too much to ask for some paranormal activity (pun intended) from a movie with “Paranormal” in the title. Well, Paranormal Investigation has other ideas. Sure, it’s the story of a young adult of ambiguous age being possessed by an evil spirit, but there are zero special effects in this movie. Well, okay, there are SOME, but they’re just the cameras glitching slightly when the possessed guy walks past them, and then a mostly invisible body passing by a camera at the very end. So what else does the movie offer? Well… not much.
Mummy Mondays are still on hold due to social distancing (we should be back on track next week), so this week I’m talking about The Pyramid, a movie that doesn’t actually have a mummy for the villain. I imagine The Scorpion King franchise is the same way, so it was going to happen at some point. Instead our villain is… Anubus. Like, the actual Egyptian, jackal-headed god of death. Well, that could be cool… TOO BAD IT IS NOT!
I’ve watched a fair amount of movies. I’d even go as far as to say “a lot.” Every week my friends and I gather and watch three (or so) as part of our Movie Night, I’ve been hitting up my local theater every week to see more current movies, and then I’ll sometimes watch something on Netflix in my free time. That adds up over the weeks, months, and years (Movie Night is over a decade old). So when I say that I’ve seen Phoenix Forgotten before, I don’t mean that literally, but instead that it reminds me of three other found footage movies: one I love, one I’m still ambivalent on, and one I hate.