The documentary-style horror movie- it’s been done (a la The Blair Witch Project). Horror movie involving cannibals- it’s been done as well (The Hills Have Eyes). Characters lost in the woods? Yeah, that’s been done. A lot.
With the film Crows Nest (stylized Crowsnest), writer John Sheppard blends these three elements. A group of five twenty-somethings (Justin, Kirk, Amanda, Brooke, and Danielle) set out on a trip to Kirk’s family cottage for a planned weekend of drinking. Justin, with a new camcorder, films everything, explaining multiple times, “I’m making a documentary”.
From this point forward, I began to lose interest. The group sets out on their journey and I began to simply watch the movie and not care how it turned out. I already could feel that it was going to be bad. And I feel sort of unethical as a reviewer to have become so biased against this film so early, but I have my reasons.
The acting, well, it just isn’t very good. And this fact caused me to feel unsympathetic. Anything bad that could happen to them, I would be perfectly okay with. For what they were given, the actors did well enough, but I just did not care about the characters because the acting just came off as flat and well, as obvious acting.
The script… how do I put this nicely… was a clusterfuck. If I had a penny for the amount of times I hear the name Kirk said in the final fifteen minutes of this film, I think I’d probably have around a dollar. Name-drops are a major problem with this script. It makes it sound as if these five friends don’t even know each other. They are constantly addressing one another by name, instead of simply talking to each other. Almost every line of dialogue begins and/or ends with a name. And the dialogue is overly basic. In choosing the movie, I wasn’t expecting anyone to delve into an intelligent discussion, but it would have been nice for at least one of the characters to even seem as if they had attended schooling beyond eighth grade.
The documentary-style of filmmaking in this movie just aggravated me. I usually enjoy movies with shakycam and a documentary feel, but here, it just didn’t work for me. The camera too often focused on unimportant things (the forest floor, the sky, etc.) and at times the lens would cut from being completely blurry and dirty to clear and unblemished. If you’re going to edit to a clean camera lens, then have someone clean the lens. There’s a complete lack of continuity otherwise.
Without giving too much more info about the film, all I can say is that I laughed uncontrollably throughout the final 15 minutes of the film. If you enjoy bad horror films, then definitely give Crowsnest a watch.
On another note, one final way I can describe how bad this film was- I could not immerse myself into it to the point that I paused it about seven times to check Facebook and browse the internet before returning to resume the movie. That’s very very very very bad.