Exists is not a bad movie. But it’s yet another in a far too long line of the “found footage” genre. I realize that Eduardo Sanchez has a certain claim to the genre as the director of the classic that started it all, The Blair Witch Proiect, but enough is enough. As a horror fan I am tired of this found footage shit. I’m going to stop reviewing them I’m so fed up with the cliche, but making an exception in honor of the first guy who did it.
Is this getting through filmmakers?
Anyway, it’s a shame Sanchez resorted to this gimmick because there are a lot of good things going for Exists. Unfortunately, however, not only is the found footage format tired, but it draws more attention to the blatant way Sanchez ripped off his own film in some of the plot details as well.
Don’t get me wrong, this movie has some very scary moments, and a very sad sense of melancholy set up by the opening credits. But it blatantly uses the strange noises in the woods, the “let’s take a shortcut” gimmick, and even the creepy lair of the creature at the end. All it needed was creepy handprints on the cave walls.
Plus, of course, what’s a found footage film without at least one “camera knocked to the ground” moment.
Oh, let’s not forget all the awkward explanations for filming when clearly anyone in their right mind would put the goddam camera down. Like when you are being attacked. You put the fucking camera down and fight. Seriously, you expect us to buy this shit someone would keep filming? Have none of you heard of suspension of disbelief?
Stop it. All of you making found footage films.
This movie could just as easily been made with a conventional narrative and been more effective. I also take issue with some plot points that don’t make sense, like the last confrontation and the aforementioned shortcut thing. I hate it when characters act in ways that make no sense.
Once again, this is not a bad movie, as the cast does a great job with the material and the lack of A-listers adds to the realism. Even with the found footage gimmick and a couple of questionable plot points, if it hadn’t borrowed from The Blair Witch Project, this would be a very good movie for the most part. If you don’t mind the repetition and can overlook those things, this could be a worthwhile addition to your DVD collection.
The DVD has some nice extra features, including a featurette on the creature creation, and a three part extra on filming in the woods for 21 days. You also get deleted scenes and the classic commentary track from Sanchez and writer Jamie Nash.
So this is definitely better than most found footage films, but no more people. That means you too, Eduardo Sanchez. Leave your Blair Witch Project legacy intact.