Found footage genre movies are a hit and miss proposition at best. It’s a stylistic approach that can be used well, certainly, but it’s overused to be sure. For every good offering, you get what feels like dozens of lackluster efforts. But that’s not going to stop people from adopting this approach, and we’ve got another one, The Rendlesham UFO Incident, on the way. Check out this new trailer and see for yourself if this is something you want to watch.
Expectations have not been high for Dean Israelite’s feature directorial debut, Project Almanac. The Michael Bay-produced, teen-centric, found footage time travel film, formerly titled Welcome to Yesterday, has been pushed back and delayed multiple times, ultimately dropped at the tail end of January, and beginning late last week there was even rapid scramble to excise a two-second clip from the movie and the promotional material—it featured footage of a real life plane crash, which incensed families of the casualties. The deck is certainly stacked against this one, but despite all of that, as well as being totally predictable, Project Almanac is actually a decent amount of fun.
From word one, you know precisely where this movie is going. It doesn’t break any new ground, not even remotely, but what makes Project Almanac endearing is the self-awareness and earnestness of the characters. These are pop culture obsessed kids who watch Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure as a kind of time travel research and take their cues about what is and isn’t possible from Looper. And at a structural level, the plot actually plays out like a simplified version of Primer.
Now that it’s 2015, prepare yourself for an entire year’s worth of Back to the Future 2 jokes and people lamenting the fact that we don’t have hoverboards. But if you’re into time travel movies, you’re in luck, because January has a couple to choose from. The Spierig Brothers’ Predestination drops next week, and later this month, the found footage time jumping adventure Project Almanac opens, and that film just released a ton of new TV spots.
The story follows a group of high school friends who discover that one’s father designed and built a time machine. Being impetuous teens, they use the newly discovered device to get up to all kinds of mischief. As with stories of this ilk, everything starts off all sunshine and puppy dogs, only to take a dark, serious turn as unforeseen consequences pile up around them. As an aesthetic choice, the found footage thing is hit and miss and will likely turn some viewers off, but if nothing else, story wise, Project Almanac at least seems like it’s trying to do something different.
When you think found footage, the first thing that springs to mind is usually low-budget horror full of lots of running through the woods and jump scares. While that end makes up the bulk of the output in this aesthetic arena, there’s always been a notable overlap with science fiction. There’s Chronicle, Apollo 18, and Earth to Echo, among others, and the upcoming Project Almanac aims to take on a time travel story, bringing this new trailer back from the future.
The Paramount Pictures release revolves around a group of super nerdy friends, which, if you didn’t figure that out right away, is driven home by the fact that one guy can’t hit on a girl and that they apparently sit around watching videos of one of their seventh birthday parties. What self-respecting teen does that? This geekiness helps them out, however, when they happen find the pieces of a time travel device and can figure out how to assemble the device.
Move over, Area 51! Now that the obviousness of your existence has been acknowledged by the U.S. government, you’re old hat. Your conspiracy-laden little brother, Skinwalker Ranch, is on the up-and-up, and now it’s getting its first truly in-depth documentary. Well, actually, Skinwalker Ranch is a found-footage paranormal thriller, but isn’t that all documentaries are these days? No? You mean Blackfish was real? (Scream!) Anyway, we’re bringing you the Skinwalker Ranch theatrical poster, seen above, as well as the first clip that’s been released, seen below. A lot of people are going to whinge about yet another low-budget, found-footage thriller rearing its paranormal head, but I’m always partial to this sub-genre. I’m a cheap thrills sorta guy.
Let’s for once skip the part where we say that found footage is saturating the market and just skip to where I say, “but this looks pretty cool anyway.” The compilation-style found footage horror flick V/H/S has been given a new trailer and it’s pretty effing cool. Sure, we don’t know how the shorter stories within the film tie into the main storyline, but all of the imagery in the new trailer is terrifying and brutal. Check it out below, but beware, it’s red band so it’s gory and there’s a boob that flashes by.