The Snapchat generation’s ‘Blair Witch Project’ has arrived – so is it any good?

06.06.16 3 years ago

Snapchat is the wildly-popular social media platform you're probably not using if you're an old-fogey like me, but with more than 100 million active daily users, it's clearly what the kids are into these days. Now, a famous person whom you probably haven't heard of if you're under 25 — YouTube star Andrea Russett — has cleverly used the social media platform to debut an entire feature-length horror film in 10 second snippets (the maximum video length allowed on the service). It truly is a different world. 

Directed by Hannah Macpherson and shot entirely on iPhones, Sickhouse — as profiled in a lengthy story/review over at Vulture — is essentially Blair Witch for the young millenial set, albeit perhaps not up to par, quality-wise, with that 1999 found-footage blockbuster. Here's the summary:

In the horror movie Sickhouse, a familiar narrative unfolds: A bunch of teens decide they want to look into some urban legend, then head to the woods in search of it. Terror ensues; teens make out and die; and the whole thing is caught on shaky, handheld camera, blurring the perception of fact into the vehicle of fiction.

Frankly, the movie itself looks and sounds awful; as Vulture's Kevin Lincoln notes, “the narrative is erratic and half-formed, the iconography is cheap and clichéd, and the meant-to-be-frightening mythos is mostly just confusing.” But as a filmmaking experiment it's certainly a noteworthy achievement that suggests a new youth-friendly model for film distribution. Do I hope the kids seek out Sean S. Baker's hilarious, quietly moving iPhone-shot feature Tangerine instead of this? Yeah, but then I'm old and out of touch. If you're inclined to see what Sickhouse is all about, the 68-minute film is now available for purchase on Vimeo for $5.99.

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