If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Yes, the movie every young and aspiring (sort of) teenager has been dreaming of, has finally made it to the big screen. It promised the biggest party ever seen, with all the bells and shot glasses included, and did it deliver? Well, maybe.... you see, despite the fact that it is indeed one kick-ass party, there are some very important things to mention, some of which really cause this film to crash out on the lumpy sofa, and wake up the next day with a very sobering headache.
So, first thing first, the story.... and there is none really. It's simply three teenagers putting together an epic party. Thomas is having his Birthday, and his friend Costa encourages him to throw a far greater bash than his parents ever expected their quiet, reasonable kid to do. Another friend J.B. is part of the trio, while Dax is taken n as the cameraman for the event. Through some elaborate text messaging and swooning on Costa's part, the word spreads quickly, and the house soon fills with the kind of numbers you'd expect at a large Club or heavy Rave. Things escalate exponentially throughout the night, as more and more join in, and things grow ever wilder. If you've seen the trailer, you know exactly where it goes.
That is pretty much it, except for a tiny little romance arc, that's all we get in the story. And even the romance is barely worth mentioning, it may as well be an Easter Egg on the DVD for pity's sake. The movie is captured in a "found footage" format, and switches between what is recorded by Dax, and from all the attendees via their mobile phones. We see everything, from crazy drinking, naked swimming in the pool, drugs, mad stunts, sex... you name it, it appeared in this film. All of which continues to snowball more and more until it turns into an all-out riot within the neighbourhood. It reaches a scale that baffles both belief and understanding.
However, with so little to actually follow, the problems with this film come in fast and thick. (no dirty puns with that Spilleos) First of all, the movie tries to make us believe that all this really happened in the opening credits, which was a big error. We're not stupid enough to expect this to be real! If it had said that it was all made up and total fantasy, I could have bought into it more, just went along with the experience. But all the time, the film goes against its opening statement, it really detached me from what was going on for a long time. It makes every attempt to look like this really happened, but seriously guys, gaining powers from a meteorite seems less farfetched than this party.
Secondly, unfortunately.... it is very boring for a sizeable portion of the film. Sure, it's a great party, with everyone having a brilliant time, but it feels like when you watch a YouTube video of your friend's Birthday that you missed. No matter how good it is, it never makes you feel like you were really there. The camerawork tries to immerse you into the centre of things, but it rarely succeeds. If we had built up to the event with characters we liked, then maybe it would have been different. But Costa especially is just a bit of a dick really. He doesn't care for Thomas; he just wants to be the creator of the event. And Thomas continuously bounces between regret for the chaos that's going on, and then being won over by Costa's small talk. I wish I could say J.B. was the audience's relatable character, but the film just always makes him look weak. At the end of the day, you feel like the guest who doesn't know anyone at the party, just wandering around catching snippets of the conversations and what's going on. It bored me very quickly.
Where things do get interesting, is when the party gets out of hand, and when Thomas finally realises he has completely lost control of it all. He just stands there in muted despair, while things are burning around him and everything just collapses into anarchy. It's the one time where the found-footage method starts to pay off, you feel like you're at ground-zero, just taking in all the crazy shit happening everywhere within your peripheral vision. I liked how the story ended too, with a very, very bitter sense of redemption. It is the creation of a legend, but a legend that has lost almost everything and damaged his life beyond repair. Just like the kind of myths you hear of in college, it's so fantastical, you almost want to believe someone actually did it.
Other good things? I thought the crowd acted well too. Capturing it in a "realistic" way must have been very hard to achieve, but they did pull it off. There are no points where you see them as accomplished actors, they're just regular people, and it comes off in a very regular way. The scenes are well set up, the camerawork is direct and creative at times, and that final sequence looks great too. It is a good crowd-pleaser, with the theatre reacting and laughing with everything that happens on-screen, and it deserves points for that.
Now, this was an almost sold out screening, and an 18's rated movie too. Even so, I felt unsettled at some points where there are girls you are almost certain are underage, stripping down to almost full-nudity and jumping in the pool. Like the Spill crew said, I wouldn't be surprised if this causes a heap of complaints and accusations to flood in. I think they over-stepped the line by setting this around a high school, when it should have been say, a Spring Break party in college. It's not clear yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it made National news at least once.
And on to what will be the biggest problem with project X, it feels exactly like a viral video. And thus, feels like something you will only ever see once. Sure, it will be enjoyable to some level, you'll get a kick out of it, but then it'll become just something to reference, which leads to the question.... why did it get a theatrical release? I could never recommend this to someone and watch them pay €8.50 to see it, no damm way! There really is very little of genuine substance here, and despite there being some cool scenes and moments, it doesn't impress very often. It just gives you a memory. That said, it does have some merit, so I shall give it a High Rental. That's probably the best way to see it too, far better than paying theatre money at the very least. As I said, I cannot recommend it, but I won't denounce it either, it's a pass. And if you are planning to recreate this movie with your buddies.... maybe hitting a few Clubs will be a better idea. ;)
Thanks for reading! ^__^