Starring Carter Roy, Alena Von Stroheim, Chris O’Brien
Directed by Steven DeGennaro
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures
So here it is – as I look down the business end of a movie that has a format that, in no uncertain terms, has maddened me for umpteen years… yet, here we are – bitter enemies, face to face in a showdown that I’m sure will leave some scars on both ends. So let’s lace ’em up, and will someone please ring the round bell if they have a moment?
Right off the bat in this one we’ve got a couple of wannabe filmmakers chirping about the opening text in their latest endeavor, and whether or not it was meant as a joke or not (if not, you fellas might want to invest in a spell-check program), the word “vacationing” is clearly misspelled, and forgive my unforgiving eyes when it comes to minutiae such as this, but I just can’t stop myself.
Now that the spelling boners have been thoroughly aired, let’s jump into the plot. It appears that we’ll be tagging along with the “Spectre of Death” crew as they plan to construct the first ever three-dimensional found-footage horror film, and at the risk of sounding negative, this group has just put the unlucky stamp on themselves, both literally and figuratively. What starts off as a feel-good, cash-grab of a movie quickly turns on a dime when an evil entity unleashes itself upon the cast and crew… all while those damn cameras are rolling, and we’re the lucky recipients of the findings… by the way, that’s a sarcastic jab if you were feeling a little sleepy.
This is kind of a shame as there are some really good ideas here that are presented in a clever way that pokes fun at the medium of found footage, but unfortunately the flick just falls victim to the same plot points and tropes it was rallying against. Life imitating art imitating life imitating art imit… oh, you know what I mean.
The actor/writer/producer without an ounce of morals is played to smarmy excellence by Carter Roy, and his performance was a bright spot in this dark closet. His creative differences with the director (Tom Saporito) will more than likely provide an ounce of entertainment for those looking towards a good laugh in the midst of this sheer terror… see? Another shot at sarcasm if you can dig it. So the plot is in place, and we’ll be checking in on a floundering married couple as they attempt to piece together their shattered vows by spending some downtime in a remote cabin in the woods.
When their scripted “haunted” accommodations appear to be actually preyed upon by some sinister spirits, the results are, excuse me for a moment *YAWN* – utterly chilling, to say the least… no, that’s really me trying to say something positive, but all I can manage to utter is something that revolves around the word “least.” The film is filled with instantaneous jump-scares, whipping and severely unstable camera shots, and pacing that resembles a sloth on Xanax trying to escape a glue-trap. The 3D works, even if it’s in a minor scope, but it does spit-shine a turd-like format that has been swirling around the cinematic porcelain for years, and lucky us – this could only be the regeneration of something that should have been put to sleep quite a while ago.
I do have an issue with the 3D as well. It’s presented here in anaglyph, meaning you need blue and red 3D glasses if you want to watch the film as intended. Two pairs are included; but if you have a third party, well, they’re just out of luck. There is no option to watch the film in true 3D so you folks out there who have 3D TVs and Blu-ray players are also out of luck. It’s paper glasses for you, and you’ll like every headache-inducing second of it! This is really a huge missed opportunity.
The special features are surprisingly plentiful and, dare I say it, far more interesting and enjoyable than the film itself. If you’re a fan of the movie, which was met with some critical acclaim, then there’s a lot here for you to dig into. For my money, though? This is just more footage that should have remained “lost.”
- Commentary with Director Steven DeGennaro (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Commentary with Producers Scott Weinberg, Randi Ludwig, Charles Mulford (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended Scenes (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Found Footage 3D Trailer (Blu-ray Exclusive)