by David Dougan
The found footage horror movie has been around for a long time, so it’s not surprising that film-makers have started to move on, and found footage movies based in other genres have begun making it to cinemas.
Earlier this year, Chronicle was released to mostly positive reviews. The film tells the story of three high school kids who develop superpowers, and the good and bad things those can bring. Project X is nominally a comedy found footage film, but the problem with that idea is that Project X just isn’t funny.
In fact, Project X is a very ugly film. What humour there is in the film is mostly tasteless, the people in it are obnoxious, and the action in it is not fun at all. The basic plot of the film is that the parents of one kid (Thomas) are going away for their anniversary, leaving him alone at the house. His birthday happens to be on the same day as their anniversary, so his friend Costa (one of the most detestable characters in recent movie history) persuades him to have, like a totally ‘epic/killer/off the charts/etc’ party that will totally make them like, totally awesome and cool, and get them all the girls.
It’s clear from the start that this is not going to be a sweet little comedy. Costa is a foul-mouthed moronic knuckle-dragger, like McLovin without the irony. Costa and Thomas are joined by J.B., who is basically your stereo-typical curly haired, glasses wearing geek, and by the gothy Dax, who works the camera throughout. Thomas wants to have a party at his house while his parents are away, but wants to keep it in control, with a maximum of 50 people there, ‘just to make it cool’. Costa, being a douche, has other plans, involving a DJ, a bouncy castle and blow up dolls, zip-lines from the roof to the pool, and various methods of making sure everybody knows about the party.
This also involves a particularly inept looking drug dealer, and while getting some weed from him, Costa steals a Santa dwarf as a mascot for the party, although really as a plot point that will pay off later in the film (in a completely stupid way). As the party begins, the DJ is bored and no-one is there, until suddenly a host of cars pull up and it’s on baby wooo (zzzz)! Once the party really gets going, the film really starts getting nasty. Apparently all the girls at the party are sluts, as none of them have any qualms about stripping down to their underwear (or less) and all the guys there are basically dumb jocks ready to trash the place and get wasted.
The camera work is sleazy in the extreme, focusing mostly on barely dressed girls, violence, drinking and a particularly aggressive dwarf (who gets stuffed in an oven before driving a car into the pool and punching men and women between the legs). It’s hard to see how Thomas can be having a good time at the party, as it spirals out of control, with more and more people arriving, neighbours complaining and the house getting trashed. More examples of the women in the movie all being easy is that Thomas not only makes a successful move on a childhood sweetheart, but the hottest girl in school can’t wait to get naked in his bedroom either.
After an altercation with an angry neighbour results in a 12 year old being punched in the face, the police arrive, but Costa and Thomas improbably shoo them away while hundreds of people are silent in the backyard. Then a news helicopter flies over the house, with Thomas apparently lost to chaos and taunting the cameras for the world to see. Suddenly the street is on fire as the drug dealer from earlier appears with a flame thrower, torching anything in sight as he comes looking for his Santa, which just happened to be filled with ecstasy. Riot police turn up as the party rages on, and Thomas’ house gets utterly destroyed. But hey, it’s alright, because his dad is actually PROUD OF HIM, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the house and surrounding neighbourhood.
Project X is a horrible little movie that has almost no laughs, no likable characters and a rather nasty attitude to basically everyone. Mercifully it is only 90 minutes long, and that’s about the only positive thing I can say about it.