Movie Review – RWD Makes Me Want To Turn Back Time

October 24, 2016

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG



Director- Matt Stuertz

Written by – Adam Hartley and Matt Stuertz

Featuring – Adam Hartley and Matt Stuertz

Chris and Ricky, the film-making duo behind a paranormal series known as Ghost Goofs, head out into a wilderness area known as the Brut Woods. Here they expect to encounter a evil spirit that inhabits the woods which were the sight of a murderous rampage that occurred decades earlier.

They also intend to interview some of the family members of those involved in the ghastly event, who happen to live in close proximity to the woods. However a scheduling snafu prevents the duo from being able to conduct said interview, since the family has gone on vacation.

Some strange occurrences have already gotten the attention of this pair, despite the lack of connection to their actual purpose.

The duo continues to explore the woods further and as it grows dark they discover a towering structure. Chris enters the structure through a small opening at the base, ultimately being followed by Ricky. Once inside Ricky sees no sign of Chris, but what he does find is that he is now standing in a sprawling derelict structure with vast unlit rooms and hallways.

Once the two meet up again they continue to explore their new surroundings until they discover something completely unexpected that will change, shall we say, the intended direction of their investigation.

Matthew Stuertz directed RWD based on a story created by Adam Hartley and himself. If their intent was to tell a story that follows the oft aimless antics of two guys armed with video cameras, a story which includes a dash of Blair Witch, a scosche of Project Almanac, a slight dusting of Multiplicity and ultimately a healthy dollop of Jackass, then..well done?

It’s difficult to take anything about the story or their acting seriously, especially since neither of the characters seem to take anything within the confines of the story seriously. The lackadaisical way in which the characters approach the pre-production of their show makes one wonder who would actually watch. One would thin they would seem a bit more purpose driven.

There was no build up of any real tension or suspense towards something shocking or scary. I did find myself  at times thinking “what the…l?” followed by “oh, that’s why” and later “are you serious?”. There is an element of the story that involves temporal shifting/displacement or time travel if you rather, which gets no discussion or explanation. And rather than being amazed or even disturbed by what’s happened, the two use it as way to commit tomfoolery and later acts of a more grim nature.

Hartley’s portrayal of Chris in particular comes across as very annoying. His acting is very forced especially at times when he’s trying to inject humor into certain situations. While Stuertz’s performance is a bit similar, it’s still hard to completely gauge beyond that of a vocal performance since he is, for the most part, an off camera voice. I began to wonder if any part of their dialogue was scripted or if it was completely, improvised. If in fact they were riffing off of each other, it came across as disingenuous rather than natural.

Since it’s a found footage movie, it required no huge budget or building of sets on a sound-stage, just the cameras, the actors, and their few chosen locations. There were some interesting and even impressive after effects, especially those used to create multiples of the same character within a given scene. However, if Blair Witch gave people motion sickness, be prepared for an increase in fast and shaky camera movement.

The idea of time flux or travel in a found footage style of movie is a decent concept, albeit rather ambitious in this case, and it needed better execution. It also would have been nice if there were even the slightest explanation as to how or why. I felt no connection to the characters and thus was not compelled to care about their fate.

Oh Cher…I find myself really identifying with he sentiment, “If I could turn back time” or wishing Doc Brown could whisk me back in his DeLorean.

I remember seeing a tagline saying, “move over Blair Witch“…no need to move Blair Witch, you’ve got nothing to worry about here. 4 / 10


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