More found footage.


Unfortunately, The Phoenix Tapes ’97 doesn’t have an IMDB page, so I can’t link you to the page to see who the actors are and all that jazz. This movie is similar to The Blackwell Ghost (features the same actor) in that it is trying to come off as authentic as possible.

The structure of these narratives, complete with sad parents giving sad interviews, might feel a little exploitative. Something about it rang a little wrong with me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. The film functions a bit like grief porn in the beginning as we get to share in the misery of the parent.

Granted, the documentary style comes and goes, so it won’t irritate you for too long. Once again though, the adherence to realism sacrifices basic viewing quality. The film quality is crap—like Blair Witch (without the charm) crap. I could maybe get passed the awful visuals if the sound wasn’t warbled and loud throughout. There is nothing worth looking at here. I don’t think film quality is the only thing that can make a good film, but this one simply has nothing going for it. I had to turn the volume and down constantly due to uneven editing, and that just gets old.

We also have another movie that thinks if your characters are bro-ish enough audiences’ will somehow like them? I honestly can’t really tell any of our dudes apart character wise. They laugh too loudly at everything, and that gets quite old (I am noticing that is becoming a theme of this review).

I am also becoming increasingly curious about how many people really choose to videotape everything. I know, I know, this is part of the genre, but they at least used to try to give us some dumb reason why we were watching what we were.

The whole thing feels a little smacked together. I really do think most of the scenes were filmed in one take, and any oddities simply add to the supposed rawness of the story. In my mind this was a slog to get through. I was time checking with five minutes of starting it, and more or less suffered through the whole thing. I know some folks are digging this new style of found footage, but it just isn’t for me. If you want my advice, just watch The Blair Witch Project instead of this undercooked turd. 1/10

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