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Scrivener

Movie - Altered

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I just happened to spot this on DVD while at Target today, and the following title just happened to jump out at me "From the writer/director of the Blair Witch Project."

Now I really loved Blair Witch, and I still feel a little depressed when I think about the unmade third film, which would have been a period piece. Anyhoo, I stopped by Hollywood Video on the way home and rented it (hadn't even made it to the wall yet).

What an incredibly pleasant surprise this was!

It starts out a little on hokey side. When you watch a direct-to-DVD movie that opens with three rednecks running through the forest with flashlights, shotguns, and a humongous speargun, you tend to get worried. But once you start to get fed a little back story, it totally makes sense and you totally buy into these characters. It also helps that the performances are really excellent... noone plays a stereotype here, and the movie does a smashing job of avoiding just about every horror movie cliche that popped into my head while watching it. The deaths are not quick, and they are not pretty (there's one scene in here that is destined to be a horror movie classic).

So what is it about? Aliens, a group of guys, and a years-old grudge. I don't want to tell you any more but this could easily be set in the X-Files universe. The entire movie has a very distinct X-Files vibe - both in the look and the subject matter (even the aliens look like they came straight out of the X-Files movie). Best of all, it is very, very, very well done. The makeup, the script, the cinematography, the careful use of sound and music... it's a shame this didn't see a theatrical release because I think it could have done very well (especially in an environment starved of good sci-fi horror). It's just a damn entertaining, creepy horror film.

10/10

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