Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More Blair Witchery: Daniel Simpson's DIY found-footage clone, HANGAR 10, opens

So many questions! Is it possible, in this day and age, that Britain neither saw nor even heard about The Blair Witch Project? If so, that's a hard one to believe. If not, why then, some fifteen years later, would anyone practically remake that movie, this time setting it in a forest in Britain and adding a slightly more interesting -- if utterly obvious -- ending and a lot of bright lights? About those lights: Is there anyone left alive who find this sort of thing even vaguely scary? (They certainly were not so in this year's earlier alien romance, Honeymoon, and they are even less so here.) Final questions: Just because you are able to make a movie on a budget of two dollars and ninety-five cents, does this mean that you should? Has the old saw You get what you pay for completely lost its meaning? (From the looks of the movie itself, the poster above is where the entire budget was spent.)

As you will have guessed these questions all stem from having recently viewed the least interesting, least effective film of the year: a would-be fright fest called HANGAR 10, which gives us three characters (above, below, and the guy on the poster, top) in search of a movie. The three do not seem to much like each other (the two men may be vying for the woman), and they do consistently stupid things throughout, while mostly yelling at each other. And, yes, we have a hand-held camera that shakes a lot and records almost nothing of any interest except a creature-like thing that runs in front of it for a moment about one hour along -- but is never seen nor heard from again.

We are told in the opening credits (and as often happens at the beginning of movies like this one) that what we are about to see is all true and that the footage was found on some laptop. Who cares? Crap, after all, remains crap, wherever it is discovered. The movie adds to the Blair Witch ending by having our threesome actually discover something. What it is and what it means, however, has been so obvious from almost the begin-ning that the filmmaker gets no points for originality. Or anything else.

The filmmaker here (he both wrote and directed) is Daniel Simpson, and his cast includes Robert Curtis, Abbie Salt and Danny Shayler. I dearly hope that someone will suggest to Mr. Simpson (and all other budding filmmakers) that a moratorium be called on this kind of torture-for-the-paying-audience movie. There is simply no longer any point to making stuff like this when every fourth-rate filmmaker can do it (and probably already has) in his sleep. Surely there are other ways (and plots available) to make a movie on the cheap? Please.

As to the filmic "style" used, it is by now a "badge of honor" that movies like this one must appear to have made themselves. (Without much honesty, however. Who it is that is shooting certain scenes -- and why -- is too pointless and tiresome to figure out.) The dialog, too, is generally woeful, probably improvised. Or at least it sounds that way.

If there is any audience left in the world for this kind of film, it must be comprised of people who love repetition above all else, or perhaps novices to film-going who will accept just about anything as new and exciting.

It's your move, as they say. And Hangar 10, released by IFC Midnight, opens this Friday, November 7, in New York City at the IFC Center. And if you don't live in NYC, despair not. The film makes its VOD debut simultaneously.

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