Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: DANIEL MYRICK
Daniel Myrick never intended to be a horror film director. After graduating the University Of Central Florida School Of Film in 1994, Myrick partnered with fellow UCF graduates Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale to create the biggest horror film phenomenon in recent history until “Paranormal Activity” (the film that took its groundwork and continued on), the found footage film “The Blair Witch Project”.
One of the few films in the fifteen-year run of found footage movies that was not only convincing in its stylistic conceit but innovative in its marketing campaign, the film went on to earn over $140 million on a budget somewhere between $60,000 and $200,000.
Appreciating the success of the film, but struggling with the idea of being pigeonholed as horror filmmakers, Myrick and Sanchez opted not to direct the quickie sequel “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2”, instead taking a producer credit and seeking out other filmmaking opportunities (their decision was ultimately the right one, given the critical and commercial mess that surrounded the second film).
In 2006, Myrick founded Raw Feed with “The X-Files” writer John Shiban and “24” producer Tony Krantz, and with that company they produced several low-budget horror and thriller films such as “Rest Stop”, “Sublime”, and “Otis”.
Though his “Blair Witch” co-director Eduardo Sanchez has stayed steady in the horror and science-fiction genre, and has even ventured back into the found footage arena with “VHS2” and the upcoming “Exists”, Myrick has branched out more, directing the drama “The Strand” and being involved in the brilliant documentary “Reel Paradise”.
But though his concentration has always been on making great films in any genre, there have been some films he has made in the years since his monster hit “The Blair Witch Project” that deserve a look as well.
A film about a religious cult enacting a bloody plan to stop the end of the world, “Believers” was a film made a few years too early. In the wake of such films as “The Sound of My Voice”, “Children of Sorrow”, the previously mentioned “VHS2”, and even the upcoming Ti West film “The Sacrament”, the crazed cult is a topic of discussion and fascination currently, and this film starring “Murder One” actor Daniel Benzali deserves to be spoken of along with those other films.
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A misunderstood film that was sold as a teen-oriented horror film because of director Daniel Myrick, the film is much more of a classic supernatural mystery story in the vein of Ray Bradbury, and would have found a great home on ABC Family in the company of “Pretty Little Liars” and the upcoming “Ravenswood”. Boasting a cast of young stars on the rise such as Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from “X-Men), Matt O’Leary of “Brick” and “The Lone Ranger” fame, and Amanda Seyfried (“Les Miserables” and “Big Love”), the film is not an intense horror film like the advertising would have led you to believe, but the film is worth seeing for the solid mystery and the good cast.
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A film combining post-911 political angst, alien encounters, and religious subject matter, “The Objective” is an ambitious, surprising, and ultimately pretty satisfying genre hybrid. Following a team of Special Ops forces searching the wilds of Afghanistan for a cleric, they soon find out that the dangers they prepared for are nothing compared to the centuries-old mystery that surrounds the place they’ve accidentally trespassed in. With a solid cast of unknown actors (with the exception of “Blair Witch” alum Michael C. Williams), the film feels real and gritty, and the ending is one that will have you puzzling for a while.
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