WNUF Halloween Special
I really miss video stores. I haven't complained all this month about it yet, but now is the time. I used to love walking down the same aisles multiple times looking for something to catch my eye. There's just something different about walking to the video store and coming home with a stack of movies as opposed to scrolling through streaming sites. But I digress, let's talk about...
WNUF Halloween Special (2013)
This movie is an interesting one. It's Halloween night and a small local news station is putting on its Halloween newscast which essentially is a commercial for their Halloween special. After the show, a reporter will be broadcasting live inside a house that was home to multiple murders and is supposedly haunted. The reporter takes two mediums, a photog and a Catholic priest to see if the place is haunted or not. Naturally, things go south.
I loved a whole lot of things about this movie. For one, it takes place in the 80's and they go out of their way to make it look like the 80's. It's shot on old cameras, the newscast looks like one you would see on old Youtube clips and I loved the low budget look of the studio. As I am quick to point out, I'm a highly respected newsman (heh), and this movie actually feels like a newscast for the most part. Well, sort of. For the start of the show, they lead with a story about Halloween safety and it's just one long sound byte from an officer. Next they do a pkg about a dentist doing a candy buy-back and then end the block with a story about the anniversary of young kid's murder while trick or treating. No producer would stack a show like that.
Anyways, when I say it feels like a newscast, they have the anchors and reporters using goofy puns in their intros and stories which made me smile. The anchors tell corny jokes to segue into other stories and the best part is I could see me using some of those same lines when I'm writing a story. I really, really enjoyed the newscast scenes.
Another thing I found interesting about it was the movie actually included commercials that wouldn't be out of place in that time period. The commercials were mostly varied and were each directed by a different person using mostly stock footage. Plus, the ones that were repeats got fast forwarded like someone was watching on a VHS. They really went into a lot of effort and with such a tiny budget, it's really impressive how well they pulled it off.
After the newscast we get to the Halloween special and Frank Stewart has a group of people surrounding him. He's doing his report and trying to get decent sound bytes from the crowd but no one is helping him. Plus it's live TV so he's doing his best with a boring crowd. Live TV with randoms is ALWAYS a gamble. To their credit, it doesn't get too silly and like I said earlier, it really feels like a live broadcast. That won't matter to many watchers, but I'm in the business so I really appreciate how they got a lot of things right. The only thing I didn't like was Frank would hold the microphone too close to his face and would cut off his mouth.
The movie is a little uneven though. The Halloween special starts off slow but then things start happening and every time business begins to pick up, they go to a commercial break. So whenever you start getting nervous or scared, the movie cuts to a commercial and it kills the mood. You get all dressed up and there's nowhere to go. On that note, there are a LOT of commercials in this movie, it's a fun novelty at first, but towards the end it really seems like they're padding the runtime. They aren't silly like in Tarantino and Rodriguez' Grindhouse, they seem like real commercials and there are only so many breaks from the action before it gets annoying.
My favorite part involves Frank along with the mediums and the priest sitting in a room together. The station advertised allowing people to call in to join the séance. People were encouraged to ask the mediums questions about their loved ones and that goes about as well as you can expect. My favorite question was, "Hi, could you tell my grandmother that she's a BITCH!" I laughed out loud, the joys of live TV!
It's really impressive considering they made this movie for $1,500-money. It does have a few moments that are kind of creepy and also has some moments that made me laugh out loud but it also drags a bit. I'm glad I watched it, but I'm not sure most people would like it as much as I did. The ending is a bit underwhelming. On the other hand, I think it's worth a watch because it's a fun concept and the best use of found footage I've seen in a movie so far. Plus, you can watch it for free on www.archive.org. You can't beat free!