Exists (2014) **
D: Eduardo Sánchez
C: Chris Osborn, Samuel Davis, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Denise Williamson
Plot Synopsis: Five friends travel to a remote cabin in the woods and plan to record their entire weekend. Their party plans are quickly ruined when they realize the property is in the middle of Bigfoot's territory, and it is not happy to have trespassers.
Review: Back when I was a kid, while watching an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, they aired a segment dealing with the legend of Bigfoot. The segment generated tension and was even a bit eerie. However, over time, Bigfoot has become something of a joke. Whenever he makes a horror movie appearance, it's usually in some sort of campy, over the top way. So, it's refreshing to see Bigfoot returned to being presented in serious, straight forward manner.
Much like that segment on Unsolved Mysteries, Exists does generate tension and suspense. This proves that director Eduardo Sánchez's success at creating vivid horror scenarios in The Blair Witch Project was no fluke. However, beyond creating horror scenarios, there isn't much else to Exists.
Exists problems are two fold, the first being that it can't avoid comparisons to to The Blair Witch Project. The second and bigger problem is that director Sánchez has given a literal, on screen, camera presence to Bigfoot. Part of what made The Blair Witch Project so successful was that it evoked dread. Exists, on the other hand, evokes fear. Now, you might be asking what's the big difference between fear & dread?
Fear is being afraid of something or someone. Dread is the fear of the unknown. With fear, you can always face that something or someone that scares you. Dread, on the other hand, you don't know what it is that scares you. In Exists, there's on screen confrontations between Bigfoot and the protagonists. With The Blair Witch Project, audiences weren't sure if what the characters were facing was a reported serial killer, a cult, The Blair Witch or possibly something else all together. If you don't know what exactly it is that scares you, then how can you face it? Hence, dread.
The Blair Witch Project continues to endure, because it invites viewers to become a part of the film. It asks them to bring their own thoughts and perceptive muscle to the proceedings. It leaves people with something to ponder over and debate about. Isn't that what the best art does? Exists, on the other hand, provides a few competently executed scares, but nothing more. [R] 86 minutes.
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