Combining horror, fantasy and sci-fi tropes with our current "war on terror" in Afghanistan might sound a bit problematic, movie-wise, and indeed proves just so for Daniel Myrick in his sixth film over the past decade. (It's hard to believe that The Blair Witch Project happened ten years ago.) Still, Myrick's new one, THE OBJECTIVE, is his most satisfying film so far -- even if it finally proves something of a let-down after ratcheting up a fair degree of suspense and mystery along the way.
A CIA operative joins a platoon of U.S. soldiers (and one from Australia's "Coalition of the Willing") in the Afghan desert, in an effort to locate the source of a top-secret something-or-other that looks like it might be nuclear. Havoc, as you might expect, ensues. However, it comes at such odd times and in some peculiar ways that viewer interest doesn't easily flag. Also, the soldiers are depicted with enough characterization to humanize them a bit. Special effects are kept to a minimum (as was, most probably, the budget) but they provide what is called for. And the interesting combination of filmed footage with the "video footage" that the CIA man is constantly shooting makes for a strange, sometimes scary juxtaposition (the fine cinematography's by Stephanie Martin).
Myrick's movie is still an improvement, to my mind, over the internet-driven disappointment of Blair Witch, the promising-but-fails-to-deliver Believers, and the all-round tiresome Solstice. Yet what may be most unusual about The Objective is its release schedule: a coupling of On-Demand, at-home viewing with a (very small) theatrical release: at NYC's IFC Center -- for midnight screenings only -- tonight, Friday, 2/6 and tomorrow, Saturday, 2/3, then in L.A. at one theatre starting March 13. (More cities and venues may be added.)
Now that so many of us are -- or soon will be -- unemployed, think how much more time we'll all have for movie-watching. As long as those films are somehow kept very affordable....