THE FINAL PROJECT
In theaters on February 12, 2016
Directed by: Taylor Ri’chard
Written by: Taylor Ri’chard & Zach Davis
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Six college students have found the ultimate graduation project: A documentary about one of the most notorious haunted houses in America. Lafitte Plantation is a Civil War landmark with a dark past, complete with stories of dead soldiers, murdered families, and restless shadows roaming its abandoned corridors. No one has entered Lafitte in years - until now. Venturing deep into the backwoods of Louisiana and outfitted with high-tech recording equipment, the intrepid filmmakers think they’re ready for anything. But something is watching, and as darkness falls and their fears come to life, one by one, they’ll learn the terrible secret of Lafitte. The dead are awake, and there are some places the living should never go.
I never know what to expect from "found footage" films. I still remember The Blair Witch Project. The promotion for the film was ingenious and the concept was new. It scared the bejeezus out of me. Since then, found footage films have run the gamut. Unfortunately, The Final Project is one of my less favorite found footage horror flicks.
From the get go, there were too many people on-screen. The story follows six (sometimes seven) filming students on an extra-credit college project. I felt that six was too many. They all had subplots which distracted me. There was even a love triangle to follow. And because there were so many back stories to set-up, it took too long to get on with the scary stuff. There was a road trip. There was some daylight walking in the woods. There was a lot to see. I found myself looking at my watch, waiting for the action to start. It was well over an hour before even a hint of anything creepy started to happen.
For as much time as I waited for the excitement, there wasn't much for me to jump at when it started. What, I think, makes found footage films fun is the audience's imagination. It is rare when the audience can see something. The imagination is usually better than the reality. But, this film was different. The production team actually showed the audience the baddies a few times. It didn't work because this is a low budget film. The special effects came-off as hokey and cheap.
I appreciate that someone put a lot of effort into the making of The Final Project. Usually, the faces in found footage films are unknown and the budgets are tight. I don't want to say too much negative about it. See it for yourself and make up your own mind. The Final Project opened in exclusive engagements this past Friday.