I know some of you will bite my head off for this one, but… Butterfly Kisses is one of the only found footage films to capture the original essence of The Blair Witch Project since the genre kicked into overdrive. I truly believe Butterfly Kisses could’ve been as big a hit if it was released two decades ago and the current, editing story-line was taken out. Just a wonderfully uncomfortable viewing experience; one that’s creepiness and ominous atmosphere sneaks up on you at a startling pace. The latest project from Four-Fingered Films, which sees its Blu-ray, DVD, and digital release on October 23 courtesy of Gravitas Ventures, is written by Erik Kristopher Myers. It follows a wedding videographer who uncovers hours of lost footage shot by two amateur film-makers as they study an entity known as Peeping Tom. Gavin, the videographer, goes on a hunt to finish the documentary for them and discover their fate, which remains a mystery in itself. To do this, he is forced to walk down the same path as his predecessors, and risk an encounter with the most terrifying urban legend in Maryland. Directed by Erik Kristpher Myers, Butterfly Kisses stars Seth Adam Kallick, Rachel Armiger, Reed Delisle, Matt Lake, Eduardo Sanchez and David Sterritt.
Butterfly Kisses is a documentary within a documentary within a found footage feature. As I mentioned above, the purest found footage portion is memorizing in its depiction of the sinister character and truly comes off like long lost home video clips. For this, I’m going to say that Butterfly Kisses is one of the best found footage releases of 2018. The wrap-around story, of Gavin trying to finish the documentary and shop it around for distribution, is an incredibly high production in itself. I’m talking about near perfect audio, video, lighting and performances. I can’t criticize the behind-the-scenes work here except for that it subtracts from the overall vibe of the movie. It’s too good, too clean, and it takes the viewer out of the terrified mindset they’ll find themselves in during the lost footage portions. The two pieces of this horrific puzzle are exactly as they should be, and yet they don’t lend a cohesive hand to the film overall. I just wish they toned down the parts with Gavin. Shout out to producers Stacie Jones Gentzler, Kenny Johnson, Erik Kristopher Myers, Robin Nicolai and Cory Okouchi as well as cinematographer Kenny Johnson and editors Myers and Johnson for making two expertly filmed documentaries…even if they don’t co-exist thematically.
The Blink Man. Chester the Molester. Peeping Tom. The villain in Butterfly Kisses goes by many names. As with The Blair Witch Project, Butterfly Kisses chooses to go light on character reveal, keeping the evil entity confined to the shadows and edges of your eyesight. It definitely keeps the suspense sky high, but I was also left wanting more. It’s a double edged sword, but a good one to have. Still, Butterfly Kisses is one of the best found footage films of the year. I’m hard to impress when it comes to this subgenre and style, and I definitely loved this movie. Great storytelling and great acting. The only thing I can knock it for is for having two time-lines that don’t run parallel with each other in terms of mood and atmosphere. Still, this one is solid. Butterfly Kisses is an unsettling, homegrown piece of horror cinema that’s going shake you to the core. Watch and enjoy, folks, since it’s now available on home media courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10