Story involves a family imprisoned in their own home by intruders who play a life and death game in which the mysterious rules become clear as the night unfolds.
Found Footage about a band of American tourists stranded in the heart of the South African wilderness. Centers on a band of American tourists, stranded and hunted in the heart of the South African wilderness. Their struggle to survive the elements and the vicious predators lurking the African plain is documented by the video cameras meant to record their vacation.
Plot details are under wraps other than the film would have a mockumentary angle centered around time travel.
Last week we learned that Platinum Dunes and Paramount Pictures’ new Friday the 13th is opening in theaters on March 13, 2015. F13 is by far my favorite horror franchise, so to say I’m a huge fan would be something of an understatement. A few months ago I hosted an 8 hour marathon for free just so I could see 400 fans of the series in one place and feel their collective excitement for it. Yet, for the first time in my life I’m not looking forward to a new Jason outing. Why? Because the rumors of a potential found footage angle continue to persist. And I’ll continue to be nervous as long as they do. READ MORE
Breaking news Tuesday evening as sources tell Bloody Disgusting that Paramount Pictures’ new Friday the 13th is taking the first Friday the 13th spot of 2015, opening in theaters March 13, 2015.
No word yet on writers, if Derek Mears will return as Jason Voorhees, or what version of the sequel they will use. There are rumors of a potential found footage angle that Paramount might be pursuing.
While there are no official confirmations regarding exactly what form the sequel will come in, Platinum Dunes is rumored to be returning to produce. We hope to have confirmation on that soon. The 2009 Friday the 13th remake, directed by Marcus Nispel, made $90M worldwide. In it, “A group of young adults discover a boarded up Camp Crystal Lake, where they soon encounter Jason Voorhees and his deadly intentions.” READ MORE
Ya gotta admit, the viral campaign surrounding The Upper Footage was pretty damn impressive. The filmmakers made up a bunch of phony NYC socialites and released a video on YouTube depicting one of them fatally overdosing. Everyone’s face was pixelated, and the uploader was allegedly using the video as blackmail. Pay up, or the identity of the ODer and her posse will be revealed. More clips surfaced, this time said to feature young celebrities inhaling a mountain of cocaine. Then major media outlets started reporting that Quentin Tarantino had purchased all of the footage and would be editing it into a documentary called “Upper.” Then nothing happened.
Fast forward to 2013 and here’s The Upper Footage, directed by Justin Cole – a man so enigmatic his face is pixelated on his IMDB page. Of course, we know now that the whole thing is fake, but the viral marketing they pulled off is remarkable in hindsight. It was like the bubble boy hoax of marketing. So was all the effort and media attention worth it?
Absolutely not. READ MORE
A decade before The Blair Witch Project popularized the found footage genre, a small film called UFO Abduction (1989) presented the alleged home video of a Connecticut family abducted by aliens. Since the concept of found footage at the time wasn’t well known, it blew a lot of minds. Even UFO “experts” were shocked by the video. Of course nowadays found footage is one of the most played out genre styles. It’s devolved into a lazy subgenre that’s used to market films – despite everyone and their grandmothers knowing that they’re bullshit.
There haven’t been many UFO-related found footage films since then. UFO Abduction was remade with a bigger budget in 1998. I don’t want to talk about The Fourth Kind. Jason Eisener’s entry in V/H/S 2 was visceral madness and wicked fun. But there isn’t a UFO-found footage movie to really call “the best.” Until now. Skinwalker Ranch is the Citizen Kane of UFO-found footage movies and one of the best damn UFO movies period in recent years.
Loosely based on the Sherman Ranch in Utah (a hotbed of paranormal activities), Skinwalker Ranch is set in the summer of 2011. Shortly before, a young boy disappeared right before his father’s eyes. There was a flash of light, then the child was gone. A group of investigators sets up camp on the ranch to figure out where the son went and, possibly, what’s behind the paranormal happenings believed to have taken place there.
While the film begins with the ol’ “this footage was found” title card, any sense of reality is thrown out the window when Jon Gries pops up on screen as the father. He’s a great character actor probably best known for playing Ben Linus’ dad on Lost and as Napoleon Dynamite‘s Uncle Rico. The rest of the cast is relatively unknown, but most will recognize Gries (even if they don’t know his name). Steve Berg plays the stalwart head researcher whose stubbornness puts the team at risk. Erin Cahill is the veterinarian who’s unable to explain the cattle mutilations and other bizarre animal deaths around the ranch. Other team members include an ex-military security expert (Ray Reed), an investigative journalist (Devin McGinn – also the director), and one sensible media specialist named Matt (Matthew Rocheleau).
I call Matt sensible because he does one of the most believable things possible in a found footage film – or a horror film in general. He’s the self-proclaimed “resident bitch” of the team and there for a huge part of the film, but when shit starts to get real, he bounces. Just straight up says “naw, fuck this” and leaves. Right on, Matt.
A series of strange phenomenon that gets progressively worse starts after the team arrives. Most of the events in the film are based on folklore that surrounds the actual ranch. There’s the aforementioned cattle mutilation, as well as flying orbs, magnetic fields, and a giant beast with glowing eyes. Aliens make an appearance, but we catch only glimpses of them, which was enough to make my skin crawl.
Despite large beasts and aggressive aliens, Skinwalker Ranch isn’t a monster movie. It’s much more of a claustrophobic, psychological thriller with a UFO backbone. They have some fun with jump-scares, but they’re not used as a cheap crutch to spook the audience. Director Devin McGinn and writer Adam Ohler set up a nice back story using the real Sherman Ranch as a starting point. They developed a rich history of the company that sent the team to the ranch. It isn’t just a group of kids who decided to pick up some cameras – there’s a much darker history to the company and its motives. This is all revealed very organically, without the filmmakers shoving twists in your face to prove how clever they are.
The film is comprised of footage from security cameras inside and outside and a couple of handheld camcorders. Early on, the film does a terrific job establishing the geography of the ranch, so even when five or six people are running around, it’s easy to grasp where they are in relation to each other. The handheld cams are thankfully never disorientating – even when the cameraman is bolting through a pasture in the dark, the video remains relatively steady. Thanks for not making me wanna barf, fictional cameraman!
Skinwalker Ranch just does everything right. The acting is great, the story is engaging, it’s shot in a way that won’t annoy the hell outta you, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. I’m as sick of found footage as the next guy, but this one is a notable entry in the field. It’s a unique take on UFOs, combining a ton of mythology into one scary little package that’ll satisfy anyone looking for a fresh take on aliens and found footage style. Simply put, Skinwalker Ranch kicks ass.
Skinwalker Ranch hits select theaters and VOD on October 30. Devil’s Night!
Back in June we reported that Platinum Dunes, the production company behind the 2009 remake, is partnering with Paramount for a followup to their version Friday The 13th.
While Sean S. Cunningham reported last month that the follow-up would not be a direct sequel to the remake (an installment I personally really like), there’s a lot of talk today on the web about the potential for this installment to be found footage. We’ve been hearing rumblings about this here at BD for a while, from multiple sources at different times. And while it’s true that the idea is being considered… nothing is written in stone. It’s all talk right now. And since it’s all talk… perhaps the conversation will change?
Hey, I understand the impulse – it’s a good way to make a movie that will have a great return on investment. Low budget, brand name, do the math. Personally, as a fan, I don’t feel this is the right way to go. Friday The 13th 2009 still made money with a $91 Million worldwide gross and subsequent Blu-ray/DVD sales on a (reported) $19 Million budget (though I hear it could have been closer to 30).
Personally, I feel like traditional photography is the only way to go on these things. Half the reason I go to an F13 is for that nostalgic kick of seeing teens killed in an idyllic, peaceful setting. That all goes away with POV. My two cents would be to suggest making the thing at a safe budget of $10-$15 million and really knocking it out of the park by giving the fans what they want. And I’m not sure the fans want this.
As fans of Friday The 13th what do YOU want? READ MORE
Remember when The Blair Witch Project was released? Remember how it brought found footage to the mainstream and was pretty scary? Well, that was almost 15 years ago, and for some reason, filmmakers still think this narrative works. Such is the case with A Night in the Woods.
A Night in the Woods follows Kerry and her boyfriend Brody as they go camping in the woods. Kerry decides to bring her “cousin” Leo along with them. They stop at a pub, hear a local tale about an entity in the woods that carves crosses into people’s foreheads and kills them, and then set off on their trip. Of course, Brody has to film this entire experience – something that Leo questions about thirty minutes into the film. (I had already been questioning it way before this.) And, of course, Leo is not Kerry’s cousin, but her former lover because bringing along an ex lover that you still have a thing for is always the right decision when going camping in the woods where a supposed killer of sinners resides.
In other words, A Night in the Woods is another jumbled mess of a “horror” film.
The fault lies in almost every aspect of the film, too. First, found footage is overused – and from what is new that is coming out in this format – it is deader than dead. I feel I’ve been repeating this in every review I’ve written lately. But would A Night in the Woods have benefited from just a point and shoot perspective? The answer, obviously, is no. Why? Well, the script is so clichéd that there was no hope for it to begin with. I honestly hate having to rip apart films, but when there is no pure effort shown, I can’t forgive it.
A Night in the Woods relies on what was shown to be effective in The Blair Witch Project. But, filmmakers, let me reiterate – it was 15 years ago. Copycatting is no longer worth it. Having a film about a group of young people in the woods with a supernatural entity that may or may not be present, due to the fact that we throw in a bit of conflict and claustrophobia to question it, is not original – and yet we continue to see it over and over again.
While some positivity could be applied to the fact that little gore is relied upon, the “scares” present are ineffective. The actors work with the script they are given. It is a shame to see Scoot McNairy, who gave a great performance in Monsters, as one dimensional Brody. Setting the film in the remote woods of England, with the initial warning of the townsfolk in the pub, only has one longing for the few minutes on the moors in An American Werewolf in London. Unfortunately, the subtlety of A Night in the Woods is not beneficial. Too many flaws leaves it simply as a less than mediocre story.
A Night in the Woods is available on demand September 24th, 2013 and in theatres in New York and San Diego October, 24th, 2013.
To be honest, I’ve grown exasperated with the whole found footage sub-genre. Don’t get me wrong, there are entries I really dig like The Blair Witch Project, the [Rec] and V/H/S series, as well as a couple from the Paranormal Activity franchise (1 and 3). But like any trend, there’s a point where it gets oversaturated and found footage has definitely passed that point. Writer/Director duo Derek Lee and Clif Prowse are latest to hit the genre’s current fad with their feature debut, Afflicted.
The story is about two best friends that go on a life-changing trip around the world only to find it take an unexpected, dark turn that finds one of them afflicted with a mysterious disease. Thus begins a venture to seek the source of the curse. Lee and Prowse are not only the creative force behind Afflicted but they are the leads as well. Their acting gets the job done…well, until things get serious. Lee and Prowse falter whenever they’re required to reveal the limitations of their chops in the drama department.
There are aspects here that remind me of Chronicle and the V/H/S entry, Amateur Night but to their credit Lee and Prowse give us a neat enough spin on vampires to set it apart from the pack. Like most found footage films, they hit a snag whenever they have to explain why the camera is still rolling especially in the film’s second half. There are moments where a character groaningly tries to justify his reasons to continue on filming. This is especially true following a pivotal moment in which Afflicted shifts direction. It’s during that key spin of events where the film begins to run out of tracks. The plot is just not strong enough to sustain as a feature. The script is lightweight and doesn’t really take us anywhere new.
Hands down, Afflicted’s strongest attribute is its well-devised action set-pieces and FX work. The chase sequences are very creative. There are many bits where you’ll be scratching your head, wondering how a particular shot was executed. The film wowed me with its high-level craftsmanship. It’s the main reason why you’d see Afflicted.
I really wanted to enjoy this film especially since it’s a Canadian genre picture and being a Canadian, I want to support my own. Aside from being undeniably impressive on the technical side, I just found myself disinterested through most of Afflicted…and it only runs 85 minutes long. There’s not enough material here to justify its running time. I think Afflicted would have made a solid 20 minute short. At its conclusion (hardly one to begin with), the filmmakers even attempt to leave the doors open for a potential sequel which is ironic since it doesn’t really hold together on its own.
Last week it was announced that Paramount had regained the rights to the Friday The 13th franchise, and they have a five year window to make things happen. I’m not sure if this means that the rights will expire if they don’t make a movie in the next five years (deals like this are common) or if they simply have five years to make as many of these suckers as they can. If the latter is the case, and if their initial foray is lucrative enough, they can certainly get four out there if they follow the “one a year” release pattern from the 80′s.
It’s too late for them to make one in time for December 13th of this year, so I imagine that they’ll be aiming for the next available date – June 13th, 2014 – which gives them some time to get it right. While I genuinely dug the 2009 remake (and wouldn’t at all mind getting that rumored Shannon/Swift snowbound sequel), there are some ground rules we need to establish before moving forward in order to ensure we get the best F13 possible.
Head below for 11 Things We Want In The Next Friday The 13th!!! READ MORE
Marlon Wayans’ A Haunted House, which spoofed Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside, made $40 Million at the US Box Office and is currently available as a Blu-ray Combo Pack with UltraViolet, on DVD and On Demand. With that in mind I recently hopped on the phone with star and co-writer Marlon Wayans to discuss his process towards the spoof genre along with the upcoming A Haunted House 2, which shoots this summer.
“When a young couple moves in to their dream place, they soon discover they’re not alone. Now, Malcolm will go to hilarious extremes – including hiring a priest, a psychic, and a team of modern-day Ghostbusters to get his place and his sex life back to normal.” Co-starring Essence Atkins (“Smart Guy”), Nick Swardson (Just Go with It) and David Koechner (Anchorman), the film is demonically good fun that critics are calling “the funniest scary movie about scary movies ever!” (Shawn Edwards, Fox-TV).
Head inside for the interview! READ MORE
Some cool news for original, found footage, horror this evening as Paramount has given the greenlight to Platinum Dunes‘ Almanac. Michael Bay will produce through his Platinum Dunes banner along with his partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. Newcomer Dean Israelite will direct, per Variety.
Plot details are under wraps other than the film would have a mockumentary angle centered around time travel. The script is by Andrew Stark and Jason Pagan penned the script.
The film is currently casting, expect it to be mainly new faces.
A few months back we reported that God Bless America and World’s Greatest Dad director Bobcat Goldthwait was working on a found footage Bigfoot movie called Willow Creek. It looks like he’s further along than I anticipated, the film will be premiering at the Boston Independent Film Festival on April 29th and Badass Digest has a look the amazing poster from artist Alex Pardee.
I’m still not exactly sure what tone the film will have. It’s a narrative, and it’s found footage – but it also appears as though there will be some interviews with real-life Bigfoot believers as well. We’ll find out soon enough I suppose. READ MORE
The Bay is completely unconventional in the way it tells its tale of an ecological disaster. Through iPhone footage, webcams, surveillance video – you name it – the movie tells the story of Claridge, Maryland and the tainted water that brings on a plague of sorts. Ultimately, it’s just not very scary.
The Bay tries. Directed by Academy Award winner Barry Levinson, who won for Rain Man back in 1988, the film has been compared to the likes of Cloverfield in its style. I personally didn’t like Cloverfield, but it was far more thrilling than The Bay. What holds together this conundrum of footage is the parasitic culprit that is causing boils and death amongst the residents of a Claridge. It’s vile. The effects are there, gross and disturbing – but they aren’t scary. Unsettling, maybe, but not terrifying. READ MORE
Reviewed by Patrick Cooper
Having to sit through DTV found footage movies is starting to get painful. What stings even more is when one of America’s greatest filmmakers stamps his approval on one of these pieces of crap. Written, directed, and starring Sean Stone, son of revered director Oliver Stone, The Asylum Tapes (aka Greystone Park) is an exercise in patience. In a world blemished with countless Paranormal Activity and [Rec] biters, Sean Stone’s film offers up nothing remotely fresh for the audience to sink its teeth into. Instead, it’s another throwaway for the bargain bin.
The film begins with a dinner party in which Oliver Stone, his son, and others are smoking from a hookah and telling ghost stories. Mr. Stone seems really chill. He recounts a time in which he was in the woods and a female apparition scared the hell out of him. Alex, a friend of Stone’s, is really into ghost and urban legends and he suggests they all go to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital to sneak around and try to catch some juicy supernatural goods on camera. Greystone is an actual former psych hospital located in Hanover Township, New Jersey, which I’m vaguely familiar with from growing up in nearby Sussex County. The funniest part is when Oliver Stone apologizes for not being able to go along, like he would ever really consider it.
Staging it at this infamous hospital sounds interesting, but I couldn’t find any info on whether it was actually filmed there – guerilla style or otherwise. So Alex, Sean, and a woman named Antonella venture into Greystone under cloak of night and start snooping around. Sean is apprehensive and ready to bounce after a few minutes of exploration. Alex, on the other hand, is perversely determined to find this ghost, who sports a gas mask and lugs chains around. The trio then endures a series of cliché found-footage scenarios while becoming gradually possessed by the asylum’s former patients – sometimes with unintentionally comical results.
A number of TV ghost-hunting show tropes also run rampant across the screen. There are quick cuts to doll heads, dark corners, flickering lights – it’s like the title sequence of Are You Afraid of the Dark?. The cinematography is miserable and filled with eye-watering shaky cam, inexplicable cuts, and embarrassingly awkward fade-in, fade-out transitions. The film is painfully unoriginal in content and editing. It’s just a bad film. There are no characters to relate to, no engaging relationship between said characters, nothing. It honestly pains me to say considering Sean Stone’s pedigree, but The Asylum Tapes feels like the work of some teenagers who borrowed their dad’s camera.
Oliver Stone did a few horror films in his early years as a filmmaker: 1974’s Seizure and 1981’s The Hand. I haven’t seen either, but maybe they’re just as bad as Sean Stone’s The Asylum Tapes and he just needs time to blossom into a groundbreaking filmmaker. I sincerely hope that’s the case and this film was just a learning experience and minor stain on his future career.
The Asylum Tapes is presented in 1.77:1 widescreen with 5.1 audio. There’s lots of night-vision, which never looks particularly good. Overall it’s an average looking and sounding film.
Alternate ending with additional robed ghouls.
Lucky Bastard, a found-footage flick set in the porn industry has been rated NC-17 and, if their press release is any indicator, they’re over the moon about it. When life gives you lemons, I suppose. The film was directed by Robert Nathan, produced by horror veteran Jim Wynorski (Return of the Swamp Thing, Chopping Mall) and edited by Hellraiser II director Tony Randel.
“The story centers on Mike (Don McManus), who runs the Lucky Bastard website; Dave (Jay Paulson), a young fan given a chance to have sex with a porn actress; and Ashley Saint (Betsy Rue), the porn star who reluctantly agrees to participate in the website’s “have sex with a porn star” contest. In the end, everyone gets more than they bargained for when the seemingly mild-mannered Dave is irrevocably transformed by his experience. When, as Ashley predicted, Dave becomes humiliated, his personality is transformed and he seeks revenge on his tormentors. In this world, where everyone is safe within its borders, an outsider poses the ultimate danger.”
Check out the trailer inside. Lucky Bastard opens April 5, 2013, at Vintage Cinemas’ Los Feliz 3 Cinemas, 1822 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. READ MORE
After a recap of the events of the second film, Paranormal Activity 4 starts on Halloween 2011. This gives us an opportune and legitimate reason for something to be recorded. However we are already getting into that far fetched territory. While a holiday may be reason for a home video, when we push beyond that and delve into teenagers recording themselves – be it at a party or during a simple video chat- we’re already going too far. The point is that the Paranormal Activity movies have gotten to a severe level of abuse. There is simply no legitimate reason for any of these characters to be recording their every move. READ MORE
In theaters January 11 from Open Road Films is Michael Tiddes’ A Haunted House, co-written by and starring Marlon Wayans. Also starring Cedric The Entertainer, David Koechner, Nick Swardson and Essence Atkins. In the Wayans family tradition of successful movies like Scary Movie 1 & 2, Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, and, most recently, Dance Flick, Marlon Wayans co-wrote the script for A Haunted House, along with Rick Alvarez, who has produced several Wayans family movies.
Last week I sat down with some of the cast and crew to discuss their work on the film. First up is my interview with Affion Crockett (who plays the gangster “Ray-Ray” in the film) and David Koechner (who you might recognize from Anchorman and Piranha 3DD). Not only to we talk about A Haunted House, but we also get into which found footage films bore them the most. To top it off, we somehow end up discussing the ending of The Devil Inside.
Head inside to check it out! READ MORE
On December 16th, 2011, eight people on their way to Las Vegas stopped in the ghost town of Garlock, California. This footage documents what happened.
Roadside Attractions has released some gory photos of isopod victims from Barry Levinson’s eco-horror The Bay. The found-footage horror was originally to be released via Lionsgate, but will now hit theaters November 2 from Roadside. Interestingly enough, isopods are actually real! They eat a creature’s (fish, whales even) tongue and sit there in place of it absorbing all of the incoming food. More on that here!
Starring Will Rogers, Steven Kunken, Kether Donohue, Frank Deal, Christopher Denham and Kristin Connelly, “Two million fish washed ashore. One thousand blackbirds dropped from the sky. On July 4, 2009 a deadly menace swept through the quaint seaside town of Claridge, Maryland, but the harrowing story of what happened that Independence Day has never been told–until now. From Oscar(R)-winning director Barry Levinson and the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious comes this nerve-shredding tale of a small town plunged into absolute terror. The authorities believed they had buried the truth about the tragedy that claimed over 700 human lives. Now, three years later, a reporter has emerged with footage revealing the cover-up and an unimaginable killer: a mysterious parasitic outbreak. Told from the perspective of those who were there and saw what happened, The Bay unfolds over 24 hours though people’s iPhones, Androids, 911 calls, webcams, and whatever else could be used to document the nightmare in Claridge.”
Head inside to check it out the photos!! READ MORE
n October 2009, the filmmakers went into an abandoned psychiatric hospital to explore the ‘haunted’ institution, famous for its radical treatment of patients with mental illness. Electroshock, insulin therapy, and lobotomies were commonplace. Once inside, the filmmakers quickly discovered that they were not alone; this story is based on their experiences.
After a “Bigfoot Hunter” claims to possess the body of a dead Sasquatch, a disgraced investigative journalist stakes his comeback — and the lives of his documentary film crew — on proving the find to be a hoax.
A new project on the horizon that has the potential to be pretty cool is Safari, a found-footage thriller gearing up to start shooting on October 15th in Johannesburg, South Africa. Directed by Academy Award nominee Darrell Roodt (Little One, Yesterday) and written by Dark Was The Night scribe Tyler Hisel, the pedigree is right for this one to be a cut above.
The film “centers on a band of American tourists, stranded and hunted in the heart of the South African wilderness. Their struggle to survive the elements and the vicious predators lurking the African plain is documented by the video cameras meant to record their vacation.” Rocky Myers (Vamp U) and Kim Argetsinger (Foreign Exchange) are set to star.
I recently spent some time on the set of Hisel’s Dark Was The Night and that film, directed by Jack Heller, looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. So fingers crossed on this one!