When it comes to the horror genre, there are very few new ideas, and even fewer ideas that are capable of terrifying the audience. The majority of mainstream horror movies are remakes of the classics, or continuations of the same story lines, with a few small twists. Luckily we have independent, low budget horror movies that can occasionally become a cultural phenomenon. 1999 brought us a new type of horror that has been used for the last 16 years, but it still manages to seem like a relatively new concept.
Ever since The Blair Witch Project (1999), we have seen an influx of found footage horror movies. The most notable example is the Paranormal Activity franchise, which has (somehow) been going strong since 2009. Even though everyone knows that the so called 'found footage' is fake, it still has a way of making the audience terrified.
The Final Project is about 6 students who choose to do a documentary as their graduation project. In the documentary they are recording their time spent at The Lafitte Plantation, a notorious haunted house located in Louisiana. CAVU Pictures released the following synopsis:
A Civil War landmark with a dark past, complete with stories of mutilated soldiers, murdered families and restless shadows roaming its abandoned corridors… no one has entered Lafitte in years- until now. Outfitted with high-tech recording equipment in order to capture every moment of their great adventure, these intrepid young filmmakers bravely venture deep into the misty backwoods of Louisiana. But on this plantation that time has forgotten, something evil still waits and watches (CAVU).
The real life inspiration for Lafitte is Chretien Point Plantation, built in 1835. Chretien has its own haunted past, giving The Final Project a very real, very troubling feel. Soldiers who were killed during Civil War battles on the premises are said to remain on the property, occasionally showing themselves. Additionally, the mistress of the house, Madame Chretien still wonders around the home, along with a dangerous spirit of an intruder that she killed during a robbery.
What sets this film apart from more recent, raw footage movies, is the prospect of an innocent curiosity of the supernatural taking a dark turn. Similar to The Blair Witch Project, these students seek out the supernatural. Unlike Paranormal Activity, they are not plagued by a dark spirit, they knowingly pursue it. They do not expect for it to actually become dangerous. Everyday, people visit local sights based on myths and supposed sightings with the anticipation of seeing or feeling something that may prove the existence of ghosts. They want to be scared, but they also feel safe in a group, making amateur paranormal investigations a common activity. The indication of malevolent spirits actually inflicting harm produces a crippling fear among the audience.
Find out this month if The Final Project has the ability to keep you up at night.