The Last Broadcast (1998)
Director: Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler
Jim Suward/Jim Suerd
Stefan Avalos/Steven Avkast
Lance Weiler/Locus Wheeler
This mockumentory explores what led to the murder of a couple of TV show buffoons who went up into the woods to try and film the “Jersey Devil” but wound up RIP instead. ZZZzzzzzz .
I loved "The Blair Witch Project" so when I started to hear shite around the campfire that it might have ripped off "The Last Broadcast", I decided to check out the latter for myself. What I found was that both films sport phony footage that passes itself off for the real deal, some of the plot conventions are similar (but handled quite differently) and yes, they both name a shady legend but that’s pretty much where the similarities begun and ended.
For starters, where "The Blair Witch Project" took us into the heat of the action by putting our silly asses in the characters' shoes, "The Last Broadcast" runs in the opposite direction and is presented in documentary format 98 percent of its running time (except for the crappy ending, more on that later). Now I must give props to the creators for making it all look somewhat genuine. Apart from the occasional lousy bit of acting, I bought that what I was seeing was a real documentary. Unfortunately, as a rule, I usually don’t really care for documentaries and had a hard time giving two shites about what was going down. The flick tosses all kinds of facts, fake testimonies and interviews our way while exploring every avenue to determine if the only survivor of the expedition is the culprit or not. And that’s it! That’s what we get for an hour and a freaking half. Hello??? Anybody home??? I thought this was a horror movie not “Unsolved fucking Mysteries”!!! At least if the film would’ve explored any of its characters at a satisfactory length, it could’ve been bearable, but alas that doesn’t happen either and in consequence, I felt totally detached from what I was witnessing.
Now you would think that a flick dealing with the Jersey Devil might have a set of balls and address it, right? NO DICE! Where the BWP actually used its legend in its narrative, "The Last Broadcast" barely mentions the Jersey Devil, yet alone go into the possibilities that the beast might be the guilty party. There are no hints of the supernatural here and that really pissed me off. What’s the point of slapping a legend into the mix if you’re not going to do squat with it? COME ON! WORK WITH ME HERE! They could’ve been looking for Captain Crunch and it wouldn’t have made a damn difference to this movie’s storyline.
And then there’s the trivial and anti-climatic ending that wound up enraging me even further. For some odd reason, the filmmakers not only decided to give us a "left field" guilty party to the murders (I’m still dying to know what the motive was) but they also totally drop the documentary format they were working with and play the cap off like a real film instead. As I was witnessing the finale, I kept asking myself…who’s filming this??? How can they have this on tape, he/she is alone!!!! If you’re going to set up rules throughout your film, don’t break them in the end and think that it's clever! IT ISN’T! They sold the movie out with that finale and in the process, negated everything that preceded it. Once the credits rolled, I kept asking myself: why did I sit through this again? What was the point? I still don’t know.
On the bright side, the flick’s editing is pretty slick, some kool things are done with sound, the actors are mostly competent (although we do get some shoddy performances here and there) and the mystery is initially somewhat interesting. But it’s too bad that the film has zero scares, suspense, endearing characters or spooky moments to keep us hooked. Tag that to the bullshit ending and you get a frustrating bore fest. I’ll stick with the witch, thank you very much.
Except for a couple of quick flashes of the red drenched slaughtered bodies and some broad getting choked in plastic…NOTHING!
David Beard (Filmmaker) reads his lines, that’s all there is to him. Jim Suward (Jim Suerd) is the better actor here and his character is somewhat interesting, more emphasis on him would have been nice. Stefan Avalos (Steven Avkast) is just "there", not much of a part. Lance Weiler (Locus Wheeler) seems like a pretty kool dude, too bad we never get to know him.
T & A
Jack shite! If you’re going to rent this baby, get "Lesbian Cuisine" with it to compensate.
It looks like a documentary, what else can I say? The editing is bang on! Too bad the flick has zero atmosphere, scares or tension.
Some kool things are done with sounds and the score is very varied. Adequate.
This fake documentary sure looks like a real one and that’s pretty much all there is to it. The story failed to engage me the whole way, the suspense was painfully lacking, the Jersey Devil legend wasn’t explored and the ending was like a gooey spit in the face. If the Blair Witch boys ripped this turkey off, I say: THANK YOU! At least they got it right. I’m happy that this is The Last Broadcast; I wouldn’t be able to bear another one...
If you stay with the end credits until the very end, you’ll read: "The story and characters depicted in this movie are entirely fictitious. But please don't tell anyone."
I guess I just told…darn it!
"The Last Broadcast" became the first feature-length motion picture to ever attain theatrical distribution without having been transferred to film. The movie was made on video for $900.