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.
Their journey starts off all fun and adventures, doing all the things all of us would do in their situation. They go back and win the lottery and relive all of those awkward moments where they said or did the wrong thing, only this time they take the appropriate action and come out on top. Unfortunately, problems arise when they realize their dalliances have rippling consequences through time, causing riots, plane crashes, and all manner of unpleasantness.
While this looks ridiculous and a little bit silly, Project Almanac has a decent concept with definite potential. My biggest hesitation with this film is the found footage conceit. I just really, really dislike that format. For every film that handles it well, there seem to be dozens that are little more than a jittery mess. Even ones that I enjoy quite a bit, like Ti West’s recent horror outing The Sacrament, too often have to push the bounds of what could possibly be filmed in order to capture all of the scenes that a movie needs to work. It’s simply so hard to do well that it’s always a looming question mark.
Still, we’ll see how this shakes out when Project Almanac hits on January 30, 2015. Some people were able to catch a screening at San Diego Comic-Con back in July, and it met with a favorable response. Noting that it doesn’t exactly blaze any new paths through the wilderness, reviews called it decently fun and said that it is smart enough to realize the limitations of the form, which is encouraging.
And just for the hell of it, here’s also a new poster while we wait.