I wonder how self-aware the Duplass brothers are?
Four out-of-work actor friends see a movie in an underground movie festival and decide that they could kickstart their careers by making their own microbudgeted movie. They retreat to a cabin for the weekend to write one. While there, their interpersonal relationships tend to push against them getting any work done. However, someone is also stalking them – with a bag on their head.
So, the movie they see is a weird little experimental film by a moviemaker, who seems to be quite full of himself. Here I would like to know how much this is a joke on the director-writer-producer brothers themselves, as they seem to have a reputation for similar self-aggrandizing. They seem to think that the 130 or so years of evolution of the language of movies is for nought and that they’ve found something better by stripping it all down. Now, I’m not against experimentation, but just claiming that moviemaking technique is all wrong is just kind of stupid.
Anyhow, the lack of interest in the common cinemaatic language is in full view in this movie. The structure is pretty weird and sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going on, because they will just try to catch moments instead of blocking the scene correctly. Sure, there’s advantages to this approach, but this is the kind of movie critics sort of like, but not that much. It’s different, but not anything relevatory.
The characters are pretty cringe-y. We have an on-and-off-again couple, who aren’t really on the same level about their relationship. We have an ingenue, who is interested in the guy in the previously mentioned relationship, and we have another guy, who’s whole persona seems to be that he’s interested in the ingenue, who in turn sees him as a friend. You can’t really root for any of them.
The horror elements come in kind of late in the movie. There’s some weird disappearances and such, but the remaining characters don’t seem to feel afraid until very late into the movie. Most of the length is just their interactions. And they aren’t very interesting. There’s always this feeling of “do we really need to go there?”
I might seem to be more down on the film than I actually am. I wanted to bring this up, because it’s not fun in the same way horror comedies are, but it still feels like a comedy. It just happens to be more like Office with the shared sense of shame. You definitely wo’t get any good laughs out of this.
My affection for this movie (as little as there might be) is probably largely based on interest in low-budget movies and the fact that I saw this at a point in my life when such movies were difficult to get hold of (for me at least). Now that I’ve seen a bunch more of these ultra cheaply made movies, they just aren’t as interesting as they used to be. I couldn’t even really recommend this, but again, I do sort of like it.