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Do Not Watch (Movie Review)

I just have to say that I love me some Found Footage horror movies. It's one of those genres that can be extremely immersive and very unsettling. It gives this sense of grounded realism, which can be absolutely terrifying. If done right, it can deliver some of the best scares, since it feels like the footage is actually real. Do Not Watch, directed by Justin Janowitz, is a new found footage movie, that follows three different timelines. You get introduced to a story which makes it feel like a movie within a movie, within another movie. It was super easy to follow along and not get lost in it. Which must have been very difficult to pull off, editing this movie all together. The most impressive thing about this movie is the structure of the story itself and also having three plot points that are all interesting. We get some really cool mysterious stories that had some incredible characters. Each story also has its own style and flare that kept the movie engaging. This movie was a ton of fun and I applaud its creativity. Visually gorgeous to look at and some of the coolest editing style I've seen all year. Sound design also brings out this very eery atmosphere and kind of played with my mind a bit. The movie is a warning to not watch it, but as a viewer, you can't stop it and that's the point of the movie. Great title and message the movie is trying to get across. Grabbed my attention from the start and never let go.

Post-production for movies seem to always be sidelined, when people talk about movies and the people behind them. I recently just produced a short film myself and know how much works goes into a movie after its shot. The beautiful thing about this movie, is that one of the stories follows a post-production crew, editing the found footage that sets off the main plot. Not only is it a clever way to tell a story, but it will give audiences a little behind the scenes look at the people who work on the post-production process of movies. As someone who loves movies and knowing how they are made, this really highlights the crew that makes movies happen and that makes me happy to see. Something many cinephiles will love from this movie is that aspect. Do Not Watch gives that respect, to those who work in the industry. The whole post-production team for this movie should be so proud of what they were able to accomplish by editing all these stories together. The pacing of the movie always felt smooth and each story progressively got better and better until we get our climax at the very end. I. will say some of the special effects at the very end, didn't look the best, but what was happening, still kept me engaged with the reveal. This is just one really put together movie and was so excited to see how it all played out. You can tell that this movie will created by people who love the genre and respect the people who make movies happen.

The cast is also incredible. I do like that we follow a journalist trying to find out what happened, with this mysterious phenomenon effecting a post-production crew. They were able to tell a story from each timeline so perfectly. Alix Angelis (The Cleansing Hour) plays the journalist trying to find answers and she gives a very compelling story. It shows how driven her character was to get those answers. The other standout out was the head editor in the other timeline with the post-production crew, who was played by Ezekiel Ajeigbe. He was excellent. His character is basically vlogging his experience with the post-production team and it really felt so real. Very good genuine reactions from him when things went wrong. Easily one of my favorite characters in the film. The original found footage timeline also had some amazing performances. Mainly how they played off each other to discover the main source of what's causing all this phenomenon in the first place. Loved that the timeline was the one that felt old and grainy and the other timelines looked progressively sharp in quality. It helped a ton to help follow along, which timeline I was in. Like I said prior, the sound design and editing were super effective. There are moments in this movie where things flash on the screen and sounds play to disorient me as I was watching. A clever tactic to make me, as the viewer, feel like I'm watching something I shouldn't. I love that. It truly feels like I should have stopped watching the video and honestly I just couldn't.

Do Not Watch is a fun time with some really amazing stories. Found footage movies are hard to pull off, but this does it well and does it in style. There are some fun stories in this one and it low key felt like an anthology. A perfect blend for a horror fan that loves both sub-genres. The editing and execution of the film is well crafted and kind of tilts its hat to those who work in the film industry. Post-production takes a lot of work and I love that the movie showcases the people behind the scenes. I dug a lot of the characters and what they were able to bring to the movie. The way this movie made me uncomfortable was super effective as well. Do not listen to the title of this movie, you need to check it out. One of those films that many people will enjoy based on its creativity, flare and personality. You can tell that it was made by a bunch of people who love horror and found footage movies, like I stated before. They made this movie for the horror community and those folks will love this one. Details on how to watch this movie will be listed below. Sold Out World Premiere (300 seats) at Screamfest back on Oct 16th! That's how you know this movie is great!

Next screening: Unnamed Footage Festival (in San Francisco) on March 30th at 7pm!

Review: 80/100


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