‘The Final Project’ is just another found-footage mess

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The Final Project (2016)

Directed by Taylor Ri’chard

You want film diversity? Well here’s Taylor Ri’chard, an openly gay, African-American writer-director creating an indie horror film. Unfortunately, he employs the found footage technique that has gone quickly downhill since “The Blair Witch Project” popularized it in 1999.

A group of seven Louisiana film school students (Amber Erwin, Arin Jones, Charles Orr, Leonardo Santaiti, Sergio Suave, Evan McLean, and Teal Haddock) decide to investigate the supposedly haunted Latiffe Plantation for their final project, to see what spookiness they encounter. But most of the students are skeptics who underestimate the real haunts that reside there.

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While it may be seen as a lazy way out, the found footage style may have been Ri’chard’s best genre to experiment with, since amateur actors are way more convincing when they’re playing amateurs. But once that stage was set, a more coherent story needed to be developed. The movie takes a while to pick up. There are a few teases of horror early on, but you have to endure almost an hour of college kids talking about exes, grades, and other menial things before you get to the meat of this horror flick. And when you get there, you’re really only met with a few quick jump scares and one or two stretched out sequences that fill you with anxiety—you know it’s coming, you just don’t know when. Nothing that really gets in your head. What you don’t see is creepier than what you do. A low budget might be a factor in that. If you’re of the easily-frightened variety, “The Final Project” might give you a quick scream or two. Otherwise, this is nothing to blink at.

5.5/10

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