After over two decades of found footage movies the prospect of yet another one could be considered flogging a dead horse. Erik Kristopher Myers’ Butterfly Kisses (2018) comes around 20 years after we were first shocked and thrilled by the idea of found footage horror movies. The granddaddy of The Blair Witch Project (1999) looms large over any such movie.
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Is this just another found footage horror?
However, this film is more akin to another from that era. Scream (1997) took the stale slasher sub-genre and added a self-referential element that refreshed it by examining the rules. Myers, the writer and director of Butterfly Kisses (2018), endeavours to explore the idea of whether found footage is reliable, rather than a well-made hoax, thus exploring the genre rather than merely adding to it.
Read our interview with Erik Kristopher Myers as he talks about the production process of the movie or watch it in full below.
Filmed in Baltimore, Maryland, the movie follows a documentary film crew, led by Erik playing himself, as they follow filmmaker Gavin York (Seth Adam Kallick) on a journey to promote some footage that his in-laws found and he edited together. This presents us with multiple layers; in fact it is a film within a film within a film (are you still following?).
In lesser hands this could be a mess, but Erik Kristopher Myers juggles the different elements and the result is a well told story.
Is Butterfly Kisses (2018) actually a scary movie?
While the movie doesn’t shy away from its moment of gore, the occasional jump-scare or its nicely used ‘Music Box’ score to invoke gothic horror, it does fail to frighten most of the time.
Rather, it is an intelligently made movie which loves the idea of horror.
Whilst the found footage itself offers the majority of the creepy moments, it also feels the most generic.
This mythical creature emerges from a local tunnel if you are able to stare into it for one hour without blinking. It will then get nearer to you every time you blink until it takes you by tickling your eyelashes, a ‘butterfly kiss’, and you blink for the very last time.
Blair Witch director Eduardo Sánchez adds credibility
During the course of the film within a film, a movie camera serves as a staring eye capturing evidence of the approaching ‘Flimmern-Geist’.
This story is beautifully interwoven by the more sedentary documentary sections which were fascinating to watch but offer little in the way of horror. The self-referential tone continues within this section with a cameo from Eduardo Sánchez, the director of the original Blair Witch Project (1999) playing himself.
The acting was generally very strong and Seth Adam Kallick was suitably obnoxious as the director/finder of the found footage but most notable was Reed DeLisle as Feldman. The character’s lack of a first name suggests something is hidden from the viewer and his performance keeps you guessing, whilst trust in him wavers as the footage is gradually shown throughout the movie.
Overall, Butterfly Kisses (2018) should keep fans of horror interested throughout but people looking for a scary movie may be a little disappointed with the low jump quotient.
Director & Writer: Erik Kristopher Myers
Starring: Seth Adam Kallick, Rachel Arminger, Reed DeLisle
UPDATE: In September 2021 we learned of the passing of Erik Kristopher Myers. Our condolences and best wishes to anyone reading/watching this who had any connection with him.
Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams
Images and Trailer courtesy of Erik K. Myers