[31 Days Of Horror ’19] Mini Reviews: The Last Broadcast (1998) and I Am Not A Serial Killer (2006)

Mini Review Day 18: The Last Broadcast (1998)

Let’s get this out of the way first, The Last Broadcast (1998) and The Blair Witch Project (1999) have a few minor similarities but they are vastly different films, solely having in common the use of woods and some found footage. The Last Broadcast isn’t exactly a found footage film, it is more mockumentary with found footage. This film was one of the first to be filmed entirely on digital video, and for the time it was made it was certainly a unique film and an interesting take on murder investigations.

The mockumentary focuses on the ‘Fact or Fiction’ murders, with filmmaker David Leigh (David Beard) using interviews and footage to try uncover the truth of the murders of Steven, Locus and Rein. Steven and Locus are hosts of a little show called ‘Fact or Fiction’ and Rein served as their sound man for an episode that would lead them to Pine Barrens to try find The Jersey Devil while doing a live show. Main suspect for their murders is Jim, the only one to survive the ordeal, their ‘expert’ in finding The Jersey Devil and who all the evidence points to. What exactly happened that led to three men murdered and one to be the suspect?

The Last Broadcast is an intriguing film, playing as a murder mystery and bringing the audience along for the ride to discover more about these murders and what exactly happened. The narration by David works well to follow the story and understand the footage being shown and who the people being interviewed are. It tells a successful story, even if some of the acting is a little off and the ending is not one easily predicted. The cast are all generally solid, with a few missteps by Jim Seward and Lance Weiler during certain scenes. It does have the look and feel of a documentary, but it is evident it is just a film when watching it. The filmmakers were daring with this project, creating something highly unique for the late 90’s and it most works well.

It is unfortunate this always gets lumped in with The Blair Witch Project, this film stands on its own and feels so different from that film. The Last Broadcast is a different kind of found footage/mockumentary film and one well worth watching. Especially if you have an interest in murder mysteries and like the genre of mockumentary. It has a lot to offer and it remains a very interesting film from the early days of the internet.

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Mini Review Day 19: I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)

Serial killer films can be a tired genre, mostly because they follow the same formula and don’t try anything original. Some are great and work extremely well, I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016) is one of those, taking a more unique approach to the genre. This is a slow burn psychological horror film, that deals with some intriguing theme’s and sets itself apart from some similar serial killer films/TV shows.

Taking place in small town USA, John (Max Records) is a teenager who has been diagnosed as a sociopath and has thoughts of committing homicide and sees a therapist Dr. Neblin (Karl Geary) to help keep those tendencies at bay. His family own a Funeral Home run by his mother April (Laura Fraser) and Aunt Margaret (Christina Baldwin), where he finds everything they do there fascinating. The small town begins to suffer strange murders and John is captivated by the mysterious nature of these murders, and decides to take it upon himself to investigate and find the murderer. He begins to suspect his friendly neighbour Mr. Crowley (Christopher Lloyd) may not be all that he seems.

The concept for the film is interesting, a potential future serial killer hunting down an actual serial killer, and no this isn’t TV’s Dexter. John does have rules he lives by, but he does this to ensure he doesn’t hurt anyone. He doesn’t really feel empathy or much emotion, but he comes up against a monster who is motivated by love, something John doesn’t feel he is capable of. Adding a bit of a supernatural element really sets this story apart, as mentioned most films about serial killers aren’t like this. This isn’t like a slasher film where Jason or Freddy just can’t be killed or stopped and go after teens, this monster kills because he feels he needs to in order to survive.

The performances are great, Max Records who perhaps is best know for starring in the wonderful Where The Wild Things Are (2009) is fantastic as John. He hits every note for the character, remains an engaging character and despite his issues the audience wants to be on his side and see him get through everything. The other performance of note is from Christopher Lloyd, this is a very different role for the veteran actor and he is as scary as he is compelling. This is a well made film, which will no doubt leave a lasting impression on the audience. It comes highly recommended.

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Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea

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