Whatever else he may do, director Daniel Myrick will always have the words "Blair Witch Project"attached to his name.Judging from
his work on The Objective, that may be
the way he likes it, since the film in large part reprises what Blair Witch did earlier but without all
the faux-cinema-verite trappings.Jonas
Ball plays a CIA agent searching for a massive radiation silhouette spotted by
spy satellites in Afghanistan. With him is a small group of special ops soldiers, assigned to protect him from what may
lie in wait for them in the post-9/11 country.The group soon finds itself lost in the desert and under attack by some
unknown supernatural force.
Release Date: Feb. 6 (limited)
Director: Daniel Myrick
Writers: Daniel Myrick, Mark A. Patton and Wesley Clark Jr.
Cinematographer: Stephanie Martin
Starring: Jonas Ball, Matthew R. Anderson, Jon Huertas, Sam Hunter, Jeff Prewett
Studio/Run Time: IFC Films, 104 mins.
Despite this familiarity, the film still stands apart from
other horror films, perhaps because the easy lesson drawn from Blair Witch’s successwas its style rather than its
substance.The Objective operates on the same slow-burn principle for horror,
where by the time characters realize something paranormal is happening it’s
already too late.The most ominous
moment that occurs before the film is already practically over involves soldiers worrying about dehydration when the water in their canteens turns into sand. But the feeling that something
is going wrong is evident from almost the very beginning, so that even the smallest occurrence
feels like a step deeper into the abyss for The
The soldiers never really overcome their role as
semi-anonymous grunts, which means the only real characters are the agent and a
local guide he hires, who seems added to the party just so someone can
constantly remind everyone that the area is cursed.Unfortunately, Jonas Ball seems at best
miscast as the CIA agent and at worst like he was an extra who was hired on the
spot when the real lead forgot to show up.Bell also gives a noir-tinged voice over to help emphasize that
something isn’t right, which seems just as out of place as his acting.
This makes it so that The
Objective never works as a full-on character-based horror film, nor does it
offer the jumpy thrills of the genre’s straight-to-DVD efforts.But this doesn’t take away from how creepy it
is, nor from the audacity of using this type of setting.Even with its uber-clichéd last five minutes,
The Objective may be one of the smartest
horror movies this year.