Movie Review: “Exists”

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2stars1It comes as no surprise that some of the folks who made “The Blair Witch Project”, the definitive “found footage” horror film, do a solid job with “Exists,” a found footage bigfoot thriller.
But in the decade and a half since the much-imitated “Blair Witch,” cellphone cameras and the nearly as ubiquitous GoPro sports video camera have made the idea of “finding” a movie in footage people have shot less far-fetched. A GoPro — attached to a helmet, a car windshield, a bike’s handlebars, set up as an impromptu security camera — is going to give you something that’s polished and yet realistic.
That’s why Brian (Chris Osborn) has packed a few GoPros for a trip to the wilds of East Texas. He’s the obligatory “video nerd” in a group of five college-age friends headed off to a “cabin in the woods.”
Like most horror movie victims, they’ve apparently never heard of the beach.
With Dora (Dora Madison Burge) and Brian’s brother Matt (Samuel Davis), and another couple, Todd (Roger Edwards) and Elizabeth (Denise Williamson), and their mountain bikes, stoner Brian hopes to make “the best Youtube video ever!”
Then they hit something with their truck in the dark. They don’t see anything, but they hear mournful, otherworldly yowls from the woods.
“It sounds like it’s crying.”
When they finally get to the cabin — “It’s like a love-making palace up in here!” — they won’t have time to christen this “palace.” They’ll be too busy barring the doors, covering the windows and cowering. Something’s out to get them.
“Blair Witch” co-director Eduardo Sanchez throws a lot of tricks at us to maintain the tension in a seriously recycled script. Writer Jamie Nash, a frequent Sanchez collaborator (“Seventh Moon” was their best) works in the occasional joke between the by-the-book shocks.
“Do you even KNOW how to use a gun?”
“I play PAINTball!”
Mostly, though, this is a subgenre genre piece, full of stock characters yelling “Don’t go OVER there” and other stock lines. People get scared, but not as freaked out as you’d think they’d be over the idea that bigfoot “Exists,” and that he or she wants revenge.
Convincing shaky cam or not, in the end all we’re left with is what we started with, just another bigfoot movie.

MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, some violence, sexual content and drug use
Cast: Dora Madison Burge, Denise Williamson, Samuel Davis, Roger Edwards, Chris Osborn
Credits: Directed by Eduardo Sanchez, written by Jamie Nash. A Lionsgate release.
Running time: 1:40

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