REVIEW: Blair Witch [2016]

“Lisa, I’m so sorry” It was only sixteen months after the release of The Blair Witch Project that Joe Berlinger‘s sequel Book of Shadows bowed in an attempt at striking while the iron was hot. The film that was ultimately released into theaters wasn’t his cut—whether this fact has any bearing on quality remains to be seen—and inevitably went on to get panned by critics and audiences alike. Any plans for more installments were scrapped and the legend of the Burkittsville monster was mothballed. So why then has a new…

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REVIEW: The Blair Witch Project [1999]

“I think the legend is unsettling enough” It may not have been the first “found footage” film ever made, but for a seventeen year-old like me in 1999 The Blair Witch Project might as well have been exactly that. I still remember the marketing campaign, the newspaper ads and fictionalized legend trying to make us believe everything we’d be seeing onscreen actually happened. It purported that three co-eds (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C. Williams) went into the woods to shoot a documentary about a ghost/witch rumored to have…

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REVIEW: The Gallows [2015]

“He’s going to choke like Charlie” Something doesn’t add up. It does if coincidence is the name of the game (and it is), but that doesn’t make it plausible to accept any revelations Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing deliver in Act III of The Gallows. It’s not ruining anything to say a main character is the kid of a classmate of deceased teen Charlie who died during a high school play in 1993. The filmmakers meticulously ensure we know there are twenty years between that performance and the current one,…

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REVIEW: Mad Max [1979]

“I’m a fuel-injected suicide machine” You couldn’t turn on the television without seeing Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome when I was growing up. I couldn’t tell you anything about it besides the fact Tina Turner co-starred, but I remember the whole terminally crazed aesthetic of George Miller‘s post-apocalyptic world. So much so that I always assumed I had seen the two previous entries. While I’m pretty sure memories of The Road Warrior lie somewhere dormant in the back of my mind, I cannot say the same about the original. The yellow…

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Posterized Propaganda February 2012: The Dreadful and the Dread Inducing

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. And we’re back after ignoring a month where the most interesting poster was Liam Neeson‘s face washed out in white. I’m not saying February is any better—because it’s not—but at…

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REVIEW: Trolljegeren [TrollHunter] [2010]

“Does anyone here believe in God or Jesus?” Forget the fairy tales. This is what Hans (Otto Jespersen) says in deadpan to the young college students that decide to follow him around. All of their giggles and winking smirks toward their camera at the mention of trolls only make this hardened man want to tell them the truth more. He has been at it too long, has been thrown around and clawed at too often, and the pay simply sucks. Towing the company line until he no longer can, Hans…

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BNFF10 REVIEW: *Cemetery [2010]

“She was like a creature from under a bridge” Despite being a complete rip-off of The Blair Witch Project, I do think Elma native B.J. Stack’s film *Cemetery has a solid thriller within, unfortunately the finished copy shown at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival is not quite it. A handheld docu-style movie, the story involves three kids—a brother BJ, his sister Katlin, and her boyfriend Brandon—out to find a hidden cemetery housing the supposed bodies of a local abortionist’s deceased patients and babies. Driving to the woods in Wales, NY…

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BNFF10 REVIEW: Lunopolis [2010]

“Have a blessed day” Ever want to know what a mixture of The Fourth Kind, without the re-enactments, and Primer would look like? Well, neither did I. That doesn’t mean I was turned off at the prospect, however, especially since both those movies are highly recommended by me. So, sitting down at a Buffalo Niagara Film Festival screening of Lunopolis was one I looked forward to. Listed in the program as a Feature Film, but categorized as a Documentary on IMDB, its synopsis confused me into wondering whether this was…

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REVIEW: Paranormal Activity [2009]

“It was my inner child getting scared” Here we are, a decade later, (well, actually eight years if you factor the 2007 original release date), and the fervor caused by The Blair Witch Project in 1999 has begun again, this time in the world of ghosts/demons. Oren Peli’s low budget thriller Paranormal Activity didn’t enrapture viewers at Slamdance enough to find a distribution deal, but after a viewing by Steven Spielberg, it has become one of the feel-good stories of Hollywood. Loving the simplicity, as I’m sure the potential profit…

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REVIEW: The Fourth Kind [2009]

“Even with hypnosis, it’s black” I don’t care if The Fourth Kind utilizes real footage or not, it’s a very powerful film. All the marketing materials allude to the fact that filmmaker Olatunde Osunsanmi interviewed psychologist Abigail Tyler and, by using actual footage of her hypnotizing patients and herself, recreated scenes to give the audience the full story of what is happening in Nome, Alaska. The technique is very effective—excising names, showing the actors’ names and who they are playing, (mostly changed to withhold identities anyways), showing the “real” Tyler…

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REVIEW: [Rec] [2007]

“Don’t you see my face is shiny?” Here we have another example why people can’t stand Hollywood. 2007 saw the release of the Spanish horror/thriller [Rec], and instead of its great success bringing it overseas for a theatrical release, America decides to create its own water-downed version called Quarantine. These Spaniards have a knack for the scary these days. Think a mix between The Descent and Blair Witch Project and you will get an idea of what [Rec] is. It’s all on a routine call to rescue a woman and…

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