The Final Project
Directed by Taylor Ri’chard
Starring Teal Haddock, Arin Jones, Leonardo Santaiti, Evan McLean, Sergio Suave, Amber Erwin
Released on April 16, 2015
Running time: 1h 20m
Not Rated (Suggested rating: R for language and sexual references. Whether or not the film is scary is up to you.)
I found it.
I found it.
I found it.
I found the absolute worst found-footage movie ever. It’s Taylor Ri’chard’s The Final Project.
Holy hell, this is bad. Bad enough that it sticks out from the blur of the barrage of found-footage movies we have received since The Blair Witch Project made the genre mainstream and Paranormal Inactivity revitalized it. I never knew that found-footage horror could get this bad. The Gallows was bad enough, but The Final Project took the badness to a whole new level. I never knew that story writing could get this bad. Well, aside from Chaos and Backgammon.
In 2009, six college students (well, seven, if you don’t forget to count the cameraman, as the movie does often) were killed after attempting to film a documentary at a haunted Southern plantation located somewhere (I can’t be bothered to remember its exact location). Ahem – spoilers much? Also, doesn’t this idea sound really freaking familiar? A similar idea was the basis for The Blair Witch Project. This is a serious problem with the movie. Its website may say that it’s a throwback to the “good old days” of found-footage horror, but The Final Project does so by ripping off The Blair Witch Project. I personally didn’t like The Blair Witch Project, but its allegedly original ideas apparently worked for the majority of its audience, and I respect it for what it did. But for The Final Project to gleefully rip off The Blair Witch Project is downright shameful and borderline plagiarism. Heck, they even happen in similar locations. The Blair Witch Project was set in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, and The Final Project is set somewhere in Virginia, which is the state just south of Maryland. Why did The Final Project not set itself in Alabama, Georgia, or South Carolina? Anyway, a blurred-out face and digitally lowered voice in the prologue tells us that what happened there is still a mystery. Well, I think the answer is obvious – a supernatural force killed them. We’re also told that this footage is police evidence released to the public after the investigations ended. Wait, what? That doesn’t happen! Police evidence is kept strictly confidential even if a case remains open. Why is footage that basically amounts to a supernatural snuff film being revealed to the public, let alone been made into a friggin’ movie?
The footage begins with one of the students interviewing some of the locals about the Lafitte plantation, where we get a few vague, self-contradictory “explanations” of what happened there to make the place so haunted that barely describe anything at all, and various opinions on whether or not this group of college students should go. But we’re never told enough of what happened there that could have instigated some sort of vengeful supernatural force. We’re fed a few precious tidbits about people dying there and some sort of events that happened back in the American Civil War. But we’re never told what happened back in the Civil War. We get a single person mentioning a slave revolt, another person saying that a battle happened there, but there’s never a set explanation of what happened there. In my personal favorite found-footage horror movie, Grave Encounters (at least, it was until I saw REC) the backstory was clearly defined but was still vague enough to create a sense of mystery and atmosphere. The insane asylum was a dumping ground for people with severe disorders. It was infamous for its experiments on patients. By the time it was closed, it was already really freaking haunted. After its closure, it became further infamous for a series of disappearances and accidents becoming associated with it. Most locals feared it and wouldn’t set foot anywhere near it. And as Lance Preston and his crew became trapped within the asylum, they learned even more backstory. The Final Project’s backstory is amazingly vague and contradictory. See, in Grave Encounters, the backstory added to the overall atmosphere and gave the asylum a personality and a very evil vibe. In The Final Project, the desperately needed backstory is barely existent, and once we get to the actual house, it feels like just a Hollywood set. The house has no personality. There is no atmosphere. The house is just…there. Even in The Gallows, the backstory was clearly defined, even if Charlie Grimille (don’t say his n – *slap*) had nowhere near enough reason to be a vengeful spirit. Read my review of The Gallows for more info.
The next day, in film class, after one of many annoying dialogue exchanges between our paper-thin characters, the teacher walks in to talk to these six students. These students are Anna, Genivieve, Jonah, Ky, Gavin, and Misty. We get some more exposition. These six students are failing their filmmaking class, and if they don’t get their grades up, they will not graduate. This is a college class, right? Why are they even in this class if they don’t like it? Filmmaking is not a required class to graduate. If you students hate this class so much, then why are you taking it? Are you majoring in filmmaking? This doesn’t make any sense! But these students have an idea! They can earn some extra credit by going out to Lafitte plantation and filming a documentary about it. That’s really the point of this scene: exposition. Oh, and the professor has a sudden character change. Since the beginning of the scene, he has acted rather pessimistic about these students passing their class, but in his final line, he suddenly changed his attitude to really freaking optimistic.
And now we spend an entire half hour with these characters just talking. And talking. And talking. While being amazingly annoying. These characters are flatter than paper, and their dialogue is not natural. These exchanges between these characters could have been refreshing, interesting, and even funny, but they always devolve into sexual boasting, raunchy jokes, and condescending insults about such gripping topics as hair being crunchy because semen got in it and manscaping. It’s one thing for a movie to have no character development, but it’s quite another thing entirely to have fake character development. You know, scenes that swear that they really are character development but are really just padding for the sake of padding? Yeah. That’s what every single scene is before the eventual haunting begins.
Question: who is filming? Clearly somebody’s in the backseat filming all of this. But who is he? Is he a seventh college student who is rarely ever addressed in this movie? Yes. He’s a cameraman named Charles who is very rarely addressed. Throughout most of the movie, the movie forgets to remind us that he is there.
The drive lasts pretty long (it feels like five hours to me) and some of the characters nod off. But soon after, Genevieve, the black chick of the group (that’s her only character trait), wakes up from a nightmare, screaming like a banshee in a freaking jumpscare.
The group pulls over to get gas. The cashier loudly demands that the group not go to Lafitte plantation. Insert more vague backstory that contradicts what we’ve heard before. Gavin, the black guy who’s Genevieve’s overly possessive boyfriend, and Jonah, Genevieve’s ex, get in a fight that is quickly broken up. One of the group says that things are really starting to get weird. This, according to the filmmakers, is what counts as the evil presence at the house influencing the group even before they get to the house. This one sentence. Wow. Also, I can sum up the acting in this scene in two words: porno quality. You don’t go see a porno to see people act. You go see a porno to see people copulate.
Mind you, we are now twenty-five minutes in. The last ten to fifteen minutes have been literally nothing but these college students being jerks to each other.
The next portion of the drive serves to show that Misty is a very bitchy whore (pardon me). If that was the intent, then well friggin’ done. Ya did it. Gud jawb. Wy 2 go.
The group finally arrives at the house. Well, they have to make a mile trek through the woods. They get to the house and talk to the groundskeeper. He gives them the keys, and instructs them to bring them back to him in the morning.
It was around now that I remembered that this movie is supposed to take place in 2009. I couldn’t help but notice that these students were using technology that belonged in the previous decade, from Misty’s cell phone, to the camera that has worse video and audio quality than The Blair Witch Project. And that movie came out in 1999. Way to use anachronistic technology in your movie.
More annoying exchanges happen at the cabin. The cameraman even catches an aside exchange between Gavin and Genevieve, where Genevieve is calling Gavin out for being overpossessive.
Insert a brief look at some obviously Styrofoam gravestones painted to look legit.
The group is ready to go into the house now. Gavin starts to unlock the door, but a loud bang from the other side of the door jumpscares the group and the audience. We get another sudden character change in Gavin, Jonah, and Misty. Until now, Gavin and Jonah were relatively gung-ho about going into the house to film whatever happened, and Misty was adamant that she not go in. Now they seem to have instantaneously switched roles. Misty wants to get the damn project done, and Gavin and Jonah don’t want to set foot in the house. The groundskeeper steps out from behind a pillar to surprise them for some reason, and goes away. And the group finally sets foot inside the house forty-five minutes into the movie. The reason why this timing is so ridiculous is obvious: we’re over halfway through the movie. What the hell? Why did Taylor Ri’chard think that this was a good idea? We only have thirty-five minutes left in the movie!
Admittedly, the house is rather nice. I wouldn’t mind moving in, so long as I could get some workers to make a dirt road through the woods and to the main road, and to clear away a lot of the plant growth from around the house. Best of all, there is no creepy vibe or imposing sense of threat. And that is a problem with the movie overall. I don’t feel threatened by this house.
A student points out to Genevieve that the one painting anywhere in the house that’s hanging above what seems like the only piece of furniture in the house displays a woman that looks just like her. We never get to see this painting, as when the camera looks at it, the feed goes out of focus. It never goes back into focus until it looks away from the painting. Why were we not allowed to see the painting? Did it not look like Genevieve after all? What was the point of this sequence if we aren’t allowed to see the painting? I get that this was meant to imply that Genevieve has some sort of connection with the house. But this plot thread is written and handled so poorly that it might as well not even be there.
Misty and two others look in one room’s closet, where there are a few little mice. Misty freaks out.
Gavin, Jonah, and the cameraman set up various cameras in various rooms. Why? Well, obviously to record whatever paranormal inactivity happens. But here’s the problem. Only twice does one of these cameras ever capture any occurrences of paranormal inactivity. I’ll address that sequence when we get to it.
The group all gathers in the room next to the front door, and films a scene that should have taken place in the first twenty minutes. Anna stands midway up the stairs and explains why they are there and what happened here to make it haunted, though she never gives a sufficient explanation. Again, she barely mentions a thing, and when she does, it contradicts what we’ve heard before. Namely, she says that four Union soldiers died there during the American Civil War when they had already said that it was four Confederate soldiers that died there. Anna mispronounces “apparition” as “aberration”. This entire movie was an aberration. The rest of the students explain that they’ve set up various cameras in various rooms to record whatever paranormal inactivity happens that night. Also, each of these students are going to be wearing GoPros all night to record from their point of view. Okay, if Ky and Misty don’t engage in some sort of sex while wearing these GoPros, I’ll be annoyed. Also, this GoPro feed will be monitored by the cameraman who will remain in the van.
The group breaks off into smaller groups and look around the house. Guys, the sun hasn’t even set yet; there’s not going to be any paranormal inactivity until after dark. Gavin pranks Anna and Misty when he jumps out of the closet to scare them. It goes over very well. For some reason, Genevieve has apparently disappeared, and Gavin, Anna, and Misty split up to look for her, Anna going with Gavin. Yes! I really think we should split up, leaving Misty alone as the perfect prey for whatever haunts this place! In fact, when Misty inexplicably goes outside, she inexplicably starts wandering in the woods, and she inexplicably comes across an inexplicably placed tub of water. When she inexplicably leans over the tub of water, an invisible force pushes her in and holds her under, drowning her. GOOD.
Crap has finally hit the fan. And we are in the last thirty minutes of the movie. That is downright shameful. Where did Taylor Ri’chard get that bright idea?
Gavin and Anna come across Ky, who is looking for Misty so he can get laid, and Jonah. Gavin goes to look for Genevieve, and Ky goes to look for Misty. Jonah and Anna stick together. Yeah! We should totally split up, leaving Ky and Gavin alone as the perfect prey for whatever haunts this place! When Ky starts walking downstairs, something white falls past the camera, jumpscaring us. Yes. Be vewwy quiet. I’m hunting jumpscawes. No, seriously. When a scary movie gets quiet like this, it anticipates people for jumpscares that may or may not happen. That’s why people get so scared by crappy horror movies that are full of jumpscares. They’re not actually feeling fear; rather, they’re feeling the sense of anticipation leading up to the next jumpscare. It is so easy for awful horror movies to manipulate people into thinking that what they are feeling is actually fear. I actually encountered one Youtuber that claimed that The Gallows was the scariest movie he had ever seen in his life. That’s how ridiculous this is.
I’ve completely neglected to mention that the stationary cameras have their night vision on. And this night vision is so foggy that I can barely tell what’s going on onscreen. Normal camera night vision is not like this. For example: the night vision from such found footage movies as Cloverfield, Grave Encounters, and REC. Their night vision was as crisp and clean as could be, and it was easy to tell what was going on. Unfortunately, in The Final Project, we do not get such a luxury.
Gavin is out in the forest looking for Genevieve. Something jumps in front of the screen (effing jumpscare), apparently incapacitating Gavin. For some reason, his GoPro shuts off. Well, the video, but not the audio, which sounds like he’s being dragged. The video comes back on for some reason to show the van turn on and hurtle toward Gavin. His footage ends there. Wait – if it did, then that means the GoPro was broken. How was the footage salvaged?
Ky meets back up with Jonah and Anna, and they split up again to look for the others. Yes! We should totally split up, leaving Ky as the perfect prey for whatever haunts this place! Ky looks around, opens a random door, sees that it’s a staircase that leads to the basement, and actually goes down the stairs. Yes! You should totally go down the stairs into the basement, because nothing bad will happen, right?! And Ky trips on his own two feet anf tumbles down the stairs. Though one could survive that fall with at worst a broken bone or two and maybe a concussion, this apparently kills Ky.
I’m noticing a pattern here: whenever a person strikes out on his or her own, that person dies. That’s just lazy writing. In Grave Encounters, one person died when he was by himself. But that person had gotten lost; he had not intentionally split off from the group.
Jonah and Anna explore the house, come across the basement door, open it, see Ky’s corpse at the bottom, and go down to investigate. Yeah! I think you guys should go down into the basement and investigate, because nothing bad could possibly happen, right? They go down into the basement, but the basement door shuts behind them and locks. Whoop-de-frip-de-doo! Anna suddenly breaks down and cries. Her breakdown is that sudden. Movie, if you handle a psychological breakdown that badly, then why even have it happen? You didn’t spend any time on a potential psychological breakdown, and you spent so little time having Anna onscreen, let alone spending any time developing her as a character. Jonah holds Anna, telling her that he’ll get the two of them out of there. Why just you two and not the rest of their friends? Another jumpscare happens when something bangs on the basement door. But then Anna and Jonah get the idea to try and open the door, and it is somehow unlocked. They take the opportunity to actually get out of the house.
They run through the woods a while, and come across the spot where the van was parked, but – GASP! – the van is GONE! OH NO! After the initial distress, Anna inexplicably has a character change. Ever since crap hit the fan, all Anna has been wanting to do is to get out of the house and go home. But now, she wants to go back to the house for some reason. Well, she cites her tiredness, but come on. How could Anna have possibly come to this idiotic idea? It is so much safer to be out in those woods than to be in that house. As long as Anna and Jonah keep moving through the woods, there is a possibility that they could get away. Jonah caves, and the two trudge through the woods, trying to get back to the house. That is literally the worst decision that they could have made at this point. Wow. They somehow come across the van, which has pinned Gavin’s corpse to a tree. We never actually see the corpse, as Jonah tells Anna to keep away from it. They somehow come across Genevieve, who they abruptly discover standing near the car. They go up to her, but in one of the worst facial warpings I have ever seen, Genevieve’s eyes and mouth open farther than humanly possible, and she lets out a demonic roar, causing the cameras to cut out.
Jonah and Anna get back to the house somehow, and they hide in a closet upstairs. We are jumpscared by some banging on the door. The movie gets quiet so it can anticipate the audience for more jumpscares. Jonah inexplicably decides to go out and investigate. Like, yeah! I really think that we should, like, totally split up, so we can, like, totally, make ourselves, like, the perfect prey for whatever, like, haunts the place! That sounds, like, totally ratchet. What the hell is wrong with you? Every time you have split up, somebody has died! And now it’s going to result in the deaths of both of you! Though, to be honest, it’s actually kind of funny to see such an incompetent screenwriter use the exact same plot device FOUR TIMES. Anna films herself with Jonah’s GoPro in a similar fashion to Heather’s apology and cry for help near the end of The Blair Witch Project. Switch to the night vision camera feed. Again, it’s so foggy that we can barely tell what’s happening. All we can see is that Genevieve is doing something to Jonah. We can also hear bones cracking. Genevieve picks up Jonah’s GoPro and walks over to the closet where Anna is hiding. She imitates Jonah’s voice because demonic possession apparently, telling Anna that it’s okay to come out. Switch to Anna’s viewpoint. She exits the closet and sees Genevieve right outside. Genevieve accosts her, somehow knocking Anna’s GoPro off her head. The GoPro lands on the ground, showing us Anna’s lower half. Anna screams as she is dragged offscreen. Bangs are heard. End of footage.
The total amount of time dedicated to the actual haunting is twenty-three minutes. That’s not just shameful – that’s downright criminal.
The next morning, a BS news network with no logo gives about a minute of footage of a reporter reporting on the previous night’s events.
Cut back to the blurred face and digitally deepened voice from the prologue. He gives us some more BS about how the police have no idea what happened and that any ideas as to how it did would be welcome. He tells us that Genevieve has not been seen to this day, and that if anyone sees her, they should approach with caution. He then contradicts himself, telling us that apparently the police took Genevieve into custody and interrogated her, and he leaves us with this last bit of footage.
A BS interrogation plays, with Genevieve denying that she committed any of the killings, despite what the footage shows. The interrogators insist that the footage shows her killing her friends. The interrogators ask her what she thinks happened that night. An increasingly manic Genevieve shouts that she doesn’t know. Some ghost that has been awfully edited into the footage appears behind her. Genevieve becomes inconsolable, shouting that she doesn’t know what happened. Genevieve stands up and lets out a demonic roar, and the footage of the interrogation ends.
Text shows that Genevieve has not been seen to this day. Bullhonky; you just showed us that she’s in police custody. You just contradicted yourself three times in two minutes, movie. That’s an accomplishment.
For those of you who have seen the trailer but not the movie, don’t bother. The trailer is basically the movie’s highlight reel. The trailer is the movie.
I took a look on the movie’s website to see just what it claims about the movie itself.
- The movie is apparently in real time.
LEX LUTHOR (Superman Returns): WROOOONG!
I’m pretty sure that the sun doesn’t set that damn fast.
- The students realized that things were wrong well before they even got to the house.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
The students only ever realized that something was wrong was when they started dying.
- The spirits at the house have some sort of hunger for revenge.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
We knew nothing about the spirits at the house.
- The shocks apparently started happening as soon as the cameras started rolling.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
Unless you count the shock of seeing such a terrible movie, the “shocks” do not begin until we are fifty minutes into the movie.
- Each student had a deeply disturbing experience.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
Uh-huh. Whenever any student strikes out on his or her own, he or she dies within a minute or two.
- There was apparently a psychological element to the overall horror.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
You wish. There was no indication of this by any means except for Anna’s sudden breakdown, showing just how ineptly this idea was handled.
- There was an amazingly threatening malevolent presence.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
Where was that? We never even saw any sort of paranormal inactivity whatsoever aside from whatever presence there was killing people. I certainly never felt any sort of threat. And even if there was any threat, I felt no fear because our characters weren’t even developed, let alone likable.
- This movie is a tribute to retro found-footage movies, particularly The Blair Witch Project.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
No. All this movie did was metaphorically grab the head of The Blair Witch Project, scoop out its eye with a spoon, and rape the socket.
- This movie’s characters are actually developed.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
No. Not only were these characters unable to stop being crapheads to each other, but these characters have absolutely no character in a movie where the movie forsakes scaring us for showing our characters be crapheads to each other. It’s one thing for a movie to have no character development. It’s quite another thing for a movie to have fake character development for the sake of padding out its already shamefully short running time.
- Genevieve has some sort of psychological and spiritual connection to the plantation.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
This is never explained. We never learn why this would be the case. Plus, there is so little time dedicated to this plot thread that it may as well not even be there.
- Odd figures skulk in the dark.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
- The movie claims to say that the students eventually find themselves unable to discern between what is real and what is not.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
When was that ever a part of the plot?
- The movie admits to using jumpscares.
I can’t fault the movie on that admission. What I can fault it on is its refusal to admit that it only ever uses jumpscares.
- This movie not only promised “full-scale” horror. This movie also promised something that it was under the delusion that it was original and new: auditory horror, by saying that it features some of the most horrifying sounds ever heard on film.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
Auditory horror has been there ever since films actually had sound. I have heard some pretty terrifying noises in various films. The Final Project comes nowhere near having any of those.
- This film promises realism at its finest.
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
The most recent found-footage movie that I found to be even close to realistic was Lake Mungo, though it was more of an actual documentary rather than a straight-up horror movie.
- This movie promises something else that it is under the delusion that it is somehow original and new: POV death scenes!
LEX LUTHOR: WROOOONG!
POV death scenes are not new.
With nearly every direct-to-bargain-bin found-footage horror movie come groups of filmmakers who forego atmosphere, character, and even plot to provide a you-are-there-in-the-moment-experiencing-it-firsthand experience. The typical results are terrible movies that try desperately to use their found-footage BS and shoestring budgets as an excuse for awful acting, horrifically awful screenwriting, and vomit-inducingly awful camerawork and sound design. Directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and actors seem to be under some sort of delusion that being found-footage and having a shoestring budget is some sort of safety net protecting them from being called out on failing to meet even the most basic requirements for a horror movie. The Final Project is perhaps the most perfect example I’ve seen yet of someone making a found-footage movie with that type of attitude.
It could have been a nostalgic throwback to the days of The Blair Witch Project, when the idea was relatively fresh. But The Final Project decided to “freshen up” its genre by shamelessly ripping off The Blair Witch Project down to its most basic idea.
The movie wastes half an hour on its flat characters before they even reach the house through inane bickering that I hope to God was unscripted. Forty-five minutes have passed by the time they enter. An old portrait is found that we’re told looks just like Genevieve, but whoever’s holding the camera just lingers on the fireplace below it, and we never actually get a look at it. Did the props department flake on Genevieve’s likeness? Even when the camera looks at the picture, the feed blurs. Why? Even when the characters aren’t involved in being crapheads to each other, the cameras are focused not on a person’s face, but on a wall or at someone’s torso or at someone’s feet or on Misty’s admittedly great tits. Finally, something happens when Misty croaks at the fifty-minute mark. The twenty-four minutes (including the interrogation) of alleged terror is nothing more than a confusing, poorly lit assault on the senses that consists entirely of screaming, loud bangs, people running, jumpscares, and anticipation of jumpscares. A few screaming college kids run around an empty house while loud noises build up to a horrific, demonic climax that never comes. Genevieve simply disappears inexplicably and inexplicably becomes Katie from Paranormal Inactivity, right down to killing people while possessed.
The Lafitte plantation should have been the real star of the damn film. It has no atmosphere or personality; it’s basically a Hollywood set. Like every ghost hunting TV show ever, it should have spent its time mining the place for every last shred of atmosphere. Even the backstory that is desperately needed is fatally neglected. We’re never told exactly what happened there that could instigate some sort of vengeful supernatural force.
Not seeing the evil force or even showing a hand or a split-second flash of a face can be creepy. Unfortunately, we have to be given the idea that something might actually be there. But this movie thinks that shaky cam and noises in the distance can elicit fear after we the audience have been given no reason to fear them. And even then, fear only happens when our characters are developed, likable, and relatable, because we don’t want them to die. This is what made Paranormal Inactivity fail in my eyes, as neither Katie nor Meekah was developed, likable, or relatable. But The Final Project fails so much more in that regard. The characters are not only underdeveloped and so unlikable that I wanted them to die, but the movie straight up fakes any character development it might have had. It’s not as if I could have gotten attached to them anyway, because this movie refuses to let me get to know them. But even when I made even the slightest amount of progress toward getting to know them, I regretted it because these characters are either blank slates and nothing more, or downright repulsive. It was a double-edged sword that felt like it was sliding farther up my ass as the movie went on. And when the horror section actually started, it finally exited through my mouth covered in shart and blood.
Nothing in The Final Project has any shred of personality. The actors’s performances could have been something other than middle-school-play-level, but these actors’ talent (if there was any) is completely overshadowed by a cheap, slipshod production that almost certainly took the first take of everything. Just listen to Anna mispronounce “apparition” as “aberration” and then hear nobody say “Cut”.
And this movie as a whole is so forgettable. While writing this review, I had a lot of difficulty remembering which character was which, and which characters were in which scene. I didn’t have much trouble remembering the plot, as it was an obvious ripoff of The Blair Witch Project.
Also, these students are taking film classes, and yet they’re using GoPros and camcorders that somehow have even worse sound quality than The Blair Witch Project. Oh, and sometimes these characters inexplicably switch types of GoPros. In one scene, I saw Anna wearing a GoPro Digital HERO, and in another, I saw her wearing a GoPro Digital HERO 3. Make up your mind.
Really, the only positive things in the movie are these: 1) its grainy, gritty cinematography that actually does occasionally work, and 2) the occasional time in which characters will accidentally talk over each other and it will actually feel natural. Unfortunately, with cameras that are even lower-tech than The Blair Witch Project and unnatural, forced dialogue, these positives are completely negated.
Backgammon as a movie gave its audience the closest it could get to literally nothing. The only reason that The Final Project isn’t as bad is because things actually happened. It took a criminally long time for stuff to happen, the stuff that actually did happen was a slap in the face of every horror fan, and the stuff that happened was over ungodly quickly, but stuff happened.
If The Final Project was just your average crappy found-footage movie that was bad but not bad enough to warrant recognition, I would be cutting this movie a little slack, as this is Taylor Ri’chard’s film debut. Much like Wolves was David Hayter’s directorial debut. Had The Final Project just consisted of those twenty-three minutes of haunting combined with five minutes of exposition and three minutes of resolution, it could have been a basic run-of-the-mill crappy student film. But no. The Final Project is a movie. An actual movie. And it’s awful. Really, really awful. It is one of the most incompetently made films I can think of. It is beyond shameful. I can barely believe that I actually watched something this badly made.
And before you call me out on this, no, I did not single Taylor Ri’chard out because he’s voting for Hillary Clinton and supports the black version of the KKK Black Lives Matter cult. I couldn’t care less about his political views. The Cinema Snob is as liberal as can be, but I watch his stuff, and if I find something I disagree with, I will simply just move on to another video.
It cost me two bucks to rent The Final Project on Amazon. I will never get those two bucks back.
And dammit, those students all deserved to flunk that class anyway.
Final verdict: 0 out of 5 stars.