Friday, March 7, 2008

The Expedition

I didn’t realize it when I ordered this film, but it’s by Brain Damage Films, the same company that brought us Sabbath. Between the two films, I think there’s more than enough grounds to bring everyone employed there up on war crimes charges.

Filmed in what appears to have been an afternoon, The Expedition follows an ill-fated documentary crew as they go to an abandoned mental asylum to try to document some form of paranormal activity there. Tragically, out of the five people that went in there, four of them made it back out safely, forcing the world to deal with their nonsense for years to come. The movie, with its “based on a true story” idiocy, is clearly trying to recapture the success of the Blair Witch Project, and fails to do so pretty spectacularly. With the exception of a few horrid “dramatic reenactment” scenes at a police station interspersed throughout to try to give the film some tiny level of structure, it’s all filmed by the actors themselves, giving us 107 minutes that is almost nothing but them wandering around the asylum lost, as nothing happens. One of them is separated from the group early on, and they spend the rest of the film wandering around looking for him, without anything ever really happening. There’s not big shock ending, there’s no body, there’s no scares of any kind, just roaming around with a handheld camera and cursing.

And by the fucking way, let’s talk about all that fucking profanity in this fucking movie. The main fucking character, who’s fucking also the fucking director and fucking writer, uses the word fuck like it’s the only fucking word he fucking knows. It’s like fuck, yo. I’m not fucking shy about cursing, believe you fucking me, but at some fucking point it stops being fucking effective and just fucking starts being crass. And the fact that while he’s constantly cursing and saying nothing of any substance, he sounds uncannily similar to that idiotic bear lover from Grizzly Man does not help.

It’s hard to really mount a proper criticism of this film that doesn’t also sound like I’m criticizing Blair Witch, which I loved. I realize that my description of the plot sounds virtually identical, just with the location switched from ‘woods’ to ‘abandoned asylum’, but believe me when I say that while Blair Witch was able to take that concept and make it work incredibly well, this is more of a cautionary tale as to how such a concept could be hopelessly butchered. This company needs to be nuked from orbit. It’s the only way we’ll be safe from more of their films.

Rating: Zero stars

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