MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Johnny Messner as DAVID VAUGHN
Jon Huertas as VICTOR
Deanna Russo as REBECCA
Saige Ryan Campbell as LIBBY
Daniel Benzali as THE TEACHER
Directed by: Daniel Myrick
Studio: Raw Feed
BY KEVIN CARR
It’s hard to come back from a hit, especially if its the first thing you’ve done in the mainstream. Almost ten years ago, Daniel Myrick, along with filmmaking partner Eduardo Sanchez, directed the eerie horror flick “The Blair Witch Project.” While this was a monumental feat in independent filmmaking, it put Myrick and Sanchez behind the eight ball with anticipation for what’s next.
Now, Myrick has struck out on his own to direct the thriller “Believers,” available from Raw Feed. The film follows a more traditional story, with two paramedics that get kidnapped by a doomsday cult when they respond to a 911 call. They are kept in cells, wondering their fate, as the cult prepares for the end of the world, which is coming in a matter of hours.
Part of what makes “Believers” work to a degree is Myrick’s ability to draw a realistic feel to his films. The high points come with the fly-on-the-wall observations of this cult. Unfortunately, the writing isn’t as strong, as might be expected for someone with such a high-profile history in improvised filmmaking. The conflict and struggles of the main characters devolve into cliche swearing at their captors.
However, there are elements to “Believers” that are downright creepy and disturbing. The scenes don’t deliver on the taboos as you might expect from a touted unrated release, but it doesn’t feel like too much is left out. Ultimately, the weak dialogue and familiar plot is tempered by a unique approach to the story.
The DVD comes with several special features, including commentary by Myrick and writer Julia Fair, an extended in-character interview segment with a cult leader, plus several behind-the-scenes videos presented in a hidden camera or forensic evidence style.