Plot: A crew of hipster filmmakers want to make a movie with as little as possible, so they decide on a found footage horror flick. But the genre is so crowded and overdone, which means they need a gimmick to stand out. This leads to the decision to film the movie in 3D and soon, the group heads off a remote house to do a quick, cheap production of their haunted house narrative. As they discuss the cliches of the genre and proceed to include each and every one in their movie, drama arises between two of the crew members, who used to date. Even so, the shoot seems to be on schedule and going well, with a visit from a well known blogger planned to help boost the film’s profile even before it is finished. Some minor incidents start to unfold however, such as accidents on the set and unexplained damage to the cabin, which some of the crew believe to be tied to the real ghost story of the house. But are these hipsters overreacting or has their jank horror movie become a reality?
Entertainment Value: I should note this review was based on seeing the movie in 2D, but I’ve now seen both versions and the addition of some lackluster 3D did little to enhance the experience. This movie is not the worst found footage movie I’ve ever seen, but it is a slog to get through and is a by the numbers example of the lesser end of the genre. The writing seems to think it is clever by listing cliches and conventions of found footage, but the movie does nothing to subvert these cliches or even put fresh spins on them. So in essence, we have an hour of a group of hipsters reciting a checklist of horror cliches before things even start to veer toward horror elements. I suppose the whole “you can’t critique this because found footage is supposed to suck” aspect is what the movie banks on, but even found footage can be done in stylish, effective ways. The performances are passable in lighter moments, but when more serious or dramatic material arises, it is almost laughable and I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. Perhaps the terrible acting was part of the plan all along, but I can’t be sure. I do think it was a novel idea to include an actual internet reviewer as himself, but it winds up as a vanity role and isn’t put to creative use in the least. In the end, I just don’t really understand the approach taken here, as the movie mocks filmmakers who crank out mediocre, cliche riddled content, then the movie itself is mediocre, cliche riddled content. I suppose the joke is on anyone who expects an experience that is creative, original, or at least moderately entertaining. Unless you just have to see every single found footage movie made, you can safely skip this one.
No nakedness. One brief sex scene, but no skin is visible. On the blood end of things, very little kinetic or on screen bloodshed, but there are like pools of blood, aftermath with some rubber body parts laying around, and some CGI red stuff at times. I don’t mind the lack of gore, but I would have appreciated a little more in terms of atmosphere or any kind of tension. The movie makes no effort to build suspense or dread until the final few minutes, which seems strange. Also of note is the spectre, a shadowy CGI spirit that looks like a mini-boss from a Sega CD survival horror game. But you know, it is funny because the movie told us the CGI would be really bad earlier, remember? The dialogue is mostly listing and repeating found footage cliches and conventions ad nauseum, but offering no new fresh takes or twists on those elements. I did appreciate a few scenes of melodrama between the couple on the crew, as it at least spiced up the movie and broke up the filler a little. No craziness here whatsoever. I would have loved some wild moments or even far fetched twists, but no such luck. The movie takes well over an hour to do anything other than hipster critiques of found footage horror, limping at a glacial pace toward the last ten minutes or so, when things start to happen. Not much off the rails about following a cliche checklist point by point.
Overall Insanity: 0/10
The Disc: Shudder released this on Blu-ray, complete with two pairs of old school 3D glasses, so fans can opt for either version of the experience here. The visual treatment is good and likely looks as good as possible, given the movie’s found footage approach and shoddy visual design elements. The 3D experience adds a little fun, but isn’t the kind of 3D that really elevates the ride, though it is nice to be able to watch both versions even if you don’t have a 3D television. The extras include two audio commentary tracks, deleted & extended scenes, some outtakes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.