Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Last Broadcast

A low-budget independent film originally released in 1998, The Last Broadcast owes what little notoriety it possesses, as well as its video release, to The Blair Witch Project, whose creators acknowledge seeing and being influenced by it. It's easy to see why Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez would take inspiration from the mildly intriguing Broadcast, but it's also abundantly clear why they felt they (and probably just about anyone) could vastly improve on it. A pseudo-documentary about three young adults murdered in the woods under mysterious circumstances, Broadcast bears the same relationship to Blair Witch that Buck Rogers serials do to Star Wars: One clearly provides inspiration for the other, but the second film is a considerable improvement. One of the many factors that make Blair Witch exponentially better than Broadcast is its immediacy: Blair's employment of hand-held cameras and improvised dialogue give it a verisimilitude the clumsy documentary framing device in Broadcast lacks. Amateurish and heavy-handed, particularly in its leaden and near-constant narration, Broadcast also features one of the stupidest trick endings this side of Arlington Road. (Note to filmmakers: It doesn't matter how nifty your trick ending is if it makes no sense whatsoever.) Watching Broadcast after Blair Witch is a little like watching a completed project and then looking at a really shoddy rough draft. That probably wasn't directors Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler's intention, but it'll likely be their legacy.