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 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 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
Reviewed by James A. Janisse
The Garlock Incident is a little low-budget horror flick made by filmmaker Evan J. Cholfin and his wife Ariana Farina. Shot in the ever-popular “found footage” style, the movie follows a director and her group of actors after they get stranded in the desert on their way to Las Vegas. Cholfin, Farina and their actors put a lot of time into creating a realistic background for the story, rooting the characters and their ill-fated trip in lots of social media sites. They have a Twitter, a Tumblr, a Facebook – all purportedly made by the families of the victims in search of their daughters and sons. It’s a commendable effort in making their movie stand out, but unfortunately, the film itself lacks any originality or pay-off for the short time we spend with these characters.
The story gets underway pretty quickly after director Lily, holding the camera and narrating most of the footage, suggests they make a stop at a ghost town called Garlock. The actors show varying signs of interest, but all of them are left upset after only finding ramshackle houses that may or may not have been recently inhabited. Even worse, they return to a van that won’t start. 60 miles from the nearest town, they have to decide what to do, and what follows is a study in desperation as their situation grows more and more severe.
Lacking any kind of effects and propped up by the simplest of stories, a lot of the movie falls on the shoulders of the cast. Ana Lily Amirpour, as Lily the director (all of the cast play characters with their own names), is ever-present behind the camera, a detriment to the film. Her bored sing-song narration is grating and she acts less like a director than the annoying relative with a camcorder at a family gathering. The other actors are much more enjoyable; the cast is an attractive and diverse group of people, all of them playing characters with clear and distinct motivations. There are a lot of moments – mostly early on – where their overlapping conversation falls in sync, resulting in a lot of natural humor in their dialogue. If they had more to do during the movie, I’m confident they’d be able to deliver excellent performances.
Unfortunately, there’s really nothing for them to do. After their van breaks down, all of their problems seem forced and fake. With no villain or opposing force in motion, the actors resort to inflating the danger of their situation, constantly asking each other “what the fuck was that?!” when nothing is going on and complaining about being wet when there’s no reason they should be. At one point, Lily follows Adam, the most captivating and interesting of the actors, as he runs toward the house they previously investigated. He ducks behind bushes and shouts, implying that he saw something. The camera zooms in, shakily, toward the house… and absolutely nothing is seen. Most of the movie is like this. The only time something actually happens to a character – a venomous snakebite – the action takes place offscreen. The dialogue is repetitive and inane, and after a while it’s impossible to ignore the artificiality of the whole ordeal.
The movie ends with a predictable twist that doesn’t do the narrative any favors. The filmmakers should have come up with an actual antagonist that could be seen on film; otherwise, they should have explored the idea that all of the characters’ worries were self-wrought. There’s footage of the actors doing interviews and read-throughs interspersed within the narrative, and in those moments there’s a lot of talk about imagination. There’s potential in this idea – that these actors, who require an active imagination for their occupation, end up worrying themselves to death in the desert because they can’t stay grounded enough to survive a serious situation. But, like the rest of the potential this movie has, it ends up wasted and unexplored.
Despite the best intentions and efforts of the filmmakers and cast, The Garlock Incident is an unnecessary addition to the increasingly overpopulated “found footage” horror subgenre. Without anything original or exciting to add to the field, The Garlock Incident‘s footage would be better off remaining lost.
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!
Reviewed by Michael Ferraro
In a small village in England, word has it that an old ruined monastery is home to many a creepy encounter. None of the local villagers go anywhere near it. The most ominous marking around said ruins is a very large and haunting tree. This tree has a history of its own too. Throughout history, people have found their way to the tree to commit suicide. But is that action done by their own free will, or is this the work of something wicked?
Two couples – Emma and Scott (Emily Plumtree and Matt Stokoe), and James and Lynne (Sam Stockman and Jessica Ellerby) – visit the nice, quiet English countryside to get away for the weekend. Emma has been put in charge of clearing her late grandfather’s cottage. She uncovers some stories and articles about the suicides and the tree but her friends don’t really seem to care much. The tree used to scare her as a child, which is understandable as it is pretty haunting, but the rest of the film focuses more on the breakdown of these two couples’ relationships than giving us evidence as to the tree’s history.
Written by Matthew Holt and directed by Michael Axelgaard, Hollow feels like two films. The first, about two couples vacationing and then discovering faults with their partners takes too long to take off. Emma has a lot of trust issues for reasons we never learn, and Scott’s looks toward Lynne only feed that issue more. The second, about an evil tree, is clearly the more interesting one but we don’t get enough of it.
The structure of Hollow provides us with nothing we haven’t seen with found-footage cinema before. It begins with a slow exposition that somehow forgets to develop any of the characters included, before finally leading to the last 15 minutes of so-called action. Like many before it, it’s simply too little, too late. The characters get lost near the tree and can’t seem to escape, until one by one they start disappearing.
Films like Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity never show us just what is doing the haunting, but they succeed in terrifying us because the set-up provides enough information for our imaginations to run wild. Hollow never really gives us a single solid clue as to why this is happening. We can piece together that at some point, there was something going on in this monastery that perhaps wasn’t too holy. We can assume the people we learn about hanging from the tree are a sort of sacrifice, but for what we can never really be sure.
The indie found footage Loss of Life, from directors David Damiata and Michael Matteo Rossi, has released four new clips and two posters.
“The plot follows a group of frightened teens trapped in a warehouse who quickly realize that no matter what happens, they must not stop filming.” The story by Britton Hein and Michael Matteo Rossi.
At the moment, the found-footage sub-genre is all the rage. No surprise there, considering audiences are still running in droves to see the Paranormal Activity films and most recently, The Devil Inside (much to our dismay). I have no issue with any novelty if it’s used effectively and creatively. The Paranormal Activity franchise, the REC series and V/H/S are great examples of when it works. Unlikely candidate, Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson (Rain Man) is the latest to jump on the bandwagon with the eco-thriller, The Bay.
The film revolves around a small seaside town that becomes terrorized by a nasty mutant breed of parasites. What makes the film stand apart from the crowd is its mock documentary-style approach. The story is told via multiple video sources including Skype, surveillance video, news footage, smart phones and police cams. Audio sources such as 911 calls and recorded phone conversations are also utilized. The sheer density of the film’s construction is my favourite aspect of The Bay. It’s been cleverly thought out and conceived. The biggest challenge facing filmmakers venturing in the found footage realm is how to convincingly justify why the characters are still holding onto their cameras. For the most part, The Bay is pretty convincing in this department. I never found myself distracted by a glaringly obvious logic gap.
Despite being presented in realistic manner, deep at its core, The Bay owes a great deal to 1950’s era sci-fi/horror pictures such as Them! There’s definitely an old-fashioned B-movie quality to the creatures. Issues begin to arise whenever the film tries its hand at scares. This is where Levinson’s inexperience in genre filmmaking is glaringly obvious. Every attempt at a scare is highlighted by a music cue and sound effect being amped up to eleven. The score is annoyingly present at almost every turn. It’s overbearing and cheaply manipulative especially during the “suspenseful” moments. These techniques ring false at every time. Mostly though, I never found myself invested in The Bay all that much. Dryness is one of the issues that can arise when presenting the material in such a documentary-like fashion and it plagues this movie all throughout. Characters aren’t particularly interesting and the story never really goes in any fresh or surprising direction.
One has to applaud Levinson for stepping out of his comfort zone. The Bay never comes across as a half-baked effort. His use of technology to tell the story, as well as themes dealing with our deteriorating environment will likely strike a chord with many. There seems to be a genuine attempt to breathe new life in the gimmicky world of found footage cinema. Unfortunately what brings the movie down is his novice approach at horror tactics such as jump scares and tension-building. While it may work on the average folk who have never seen a horror film in their life, it won’t fool a hardcore fan by a long shot. The Bay is an admirable but ultimately dull thriller.
P.S. Considering its uncinematic aesthetic, I think this film may actually play more effectively on the small screen. Might be an experiment worth revisiting.
We finally have a trailer for Roadside Attractions release of Barry Levinson’s eco-horror The Bay. The pic, announced among 9 other films, will World Premiere in Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness section next week. It is said to be a brutal and harrowing film about a deadly parasite that chronicles the descent of a small Maryland town into absolute terror. The found footage horror was originally to be released via Lionsgate.
Starring Will Rogers, Steven Kunken, Kether Donohue, Frank Deal, Christopher Denham and Kristin Connelly, “On the 4th of July in 2011, an unprecedented biological disaster is unleashed from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. An isopod parasite, carrying untreatable, mutated diseases, jumps from fish to human host and replaces them with itself. Seven years later, the true horror and scope of the event, captured mainly on home videos by the town’s now long-dead victims, is revealed to the public for the first time…”
Head inside for the trailer and poster! READ MORE
Magnet Releasing has scheduled [REC] 3: Genesis for release next week and I spoke with director Paco Plaza today about that film. While Plaza and Jaume Balagueró co-directed the first two installments, they decided to split up parts 3 and 4, with Plaza taking Genesis and Balagueró tackling [REC] 4: Apocalypse.
While the bulk of our interview (which will hit next week in its entirety) concerned the super-fun Genesis, Plaza was able to talk a bit about the fourth installment. There’s a moment in [REC] 3, which is a prequel to the first two films, where the camera gets put down and it switches into a more traditional film. Apparently Balagueró’s [REC] 4 takes it a step further by not being found footage at all – even though it picks up moments after [REC] 2 ends.
Per Plaza, “It’s true that it takes place after ‘[REC] 2′. And it is going to be shot [differently]. It is not going back to found footage, it is going to be a cinematic narrative. A conventional film. I don’t want to say much more, I can’t say too much. I don’t want to get in trouble!”
For you found footage fans, don’t worry. When Plaza puts the POV-cam down in [REC] 3, he’s not dissing the genre. “It’s not that I wanted to make a statement. There are still excellent found footage films like ‘Paranormal Activity 3′. It’s not saying ‘found footage is over’ or anything. I just wanted to surprise the audience and deliver something different [after the first two films].”
Get more on the official Facebook. [REC] 3: Genesis hits VOD on Friday, August 3 and select theaters on Friday, September 7. You can check out the trailer inside. Look for our full interview with Plaza before the film’s release next week! READ MORE
Writer/director Padraig Reynolds’ mixed genre kidnapping slasher/creature feature Rites of Spring plays kind of like a modern day From Dusk Till Dawn in that it totally switches gears midway through (not a spoiler, the film tips its hat to this early on). Of course, there aren’t any vampires and the film is much more serious than that early Tarantiono/Rodriguez collaboration. An early kidnapping segment really struck me with its unflinching brutality, as did some of the film’s more “sacrificial” moments. Rites stars AJ Bowen (The Signal, House of the Devil, A Horrible Way to Die, Hatchet 2, You’re Next) who plays embattled kidnapper Ben Geringer.
I recently hopped on the phone with Bowen to chat about how his character in Rites was a welcome break from some of the more thoroughly evil types he’s played. We also talked about his upcoming film Silent Night Of The Living Dead as well as the status of You’re Next. Oh, and we find out if he’s reconsidered his longstanding aversion to doing a found footage film.
In the film, “A group of kidnappers abduct the daughter of a wealthy socialite and hide out in an abandoned school on the edge of town. But feelings of guilt soon overtake the kidnappers, dividing the group and putting their entire plan in jeopardy. The evening further spirals out of control when their poorly chosen hideout becomes a hunting ground for a mysterious creature that requires springtime ritualistic sacrifices.” The creature, “Wormface”, was designed by Aaron Sims (A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, Wrong Turn, The Mist, I Am Legend, Clash of the Titans, The Thing).
IFC Midnight releases Rites Of Spring July 27 on VOD and in limited theaters. Head inside for the interview! READ MORE