I must warn you: If you hated The Blair Witch Project, you probably won’t like Paul McGhie’s Webcast. On that note, I guess this count as a bit of a spoiler alert. This isn’t to say it’s a Blair Witch rip-off, but that this movie is more rooted in a freaky concept than it is a mile-a-minute thriller. Specifically, the idea is this: What if someone in a neighborhood is being held hostage but in the name of keeping them safe? In this case, it’s someone who’s supposed to be a drug addict, but there may be something more to her panic than an addiction. Is she trying to escape from her supposed caretakers?
There are a few flaws in Webcast. I wish the lead character — an aspiring documentary filmmaker — was more of a raconteur. Instead, there really aren’t memorable pieces of dialogue or monologue. What’s most interesting is the weird situation that surrounds her and Ed (Joseph Tremain). Also, there’s no denying that, to some extent, Webcast follows elements of the standard found footage formula, most famously displayed in The Blair Witch.
Written by McGhie, this story does okay. You can appreciate it unless you grow weary of adults psychologically melting into childlike states in the process of horror. However, if you’re that way, why are you watching a horror movie? As you watch, you might find yourself guessing about possible supernatural elements, and whether people are who they say they were.
What “Webcast” Gets Right
This movie does the “meat-and-potatoes” elements pretty well. The acting conveys that the characters feel very uneasy, like they’re witnesses to something and being targeted for it. Is it so scary you’ll need a therapist? Probably not, but that depends on your sensitivity level. As far as I know, you’ll be fine. There are also questions about knowing your neighbors.
In this case, the question of whether someone’s a recovering drug addict or a victim is interesting and always relevant to the times. Should we trust people in our neighborhoods? Sometimes we do get to meet our neighbors, and not for the best. You may just be at the doorstep of a forbidden, forbidden place where mysterious rituals are performed for no heavenly reason. Indeed, a lot of us want to escape this dark world, but the path is becoming darker by the day.
Entertainment Value Strained?
I must admit this movie seemed longer than necessary, even though it’s only one and a half hours. It seems they could have condensed it to make it flow better. At times I forgot they were increasingly “trapped in a nightmare world,.” Of course, this ort of complaint also haunts “The Blair Witch Project” to this day.
However, if you’re trailing a secret organization and/or seeking to destroy an ancient evil, you should probably be following that more than spare details that aren’t relevant or interesting. That sounds like harsh criticism, but I don’t mean to say this movie sucks. I’m just saying it wasn’t a masterpiece. I might even watch it again someday, but I will be investigating tons of other movies I’ve missed over the years. This movie won’t be very high on my list of re-watch priorities.
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