Review Date: December 4, 1999
Released by: Wavelength
Release date: 12/7/1999
Region 1, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1 | 16x9: No
Steven Avkast (Stefan Avalos) and Locus Wheeler (Lance Weiler) are the host of a local radio show titled "Fact of Fiction". When their ratings begin to decline they realize they must do something to reverse the downfall. On IRC (Internet Relay Chat) one of their viewers suggest they do a show on the legend of the Pine Barrens and Jersey Devil. This triggers them to come up with the idea of doing a live broadcast, both on TV and over the Internet, from the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. They recruit two of their viewers over the Internet to assist them in the task, they are Rein Clackin (Rein Clabbers) and Jim Suerd (Jim Seward). Rein will be assisting with the technicals while Jim, who claims to be psychic, will help them track down the prime location to search for the Jersey Devil.
Once they enter the woods things quickly begin to crumble. Jim begins acting psychotic instead of psychic. Soon one of the hosts to "Fact or Fiction" disappear. They begin their search for the missing host and only one member of the party comes out alive, that begin Jim Suerd. Two days later police found two bodies, with one person or body still missing. Police are quick to arrest Jim Suerd, and even quicker a jury convicts and sentences him to life in prison.
One year later, filmmaker David Leigh (David Beard) decides to make a film from the video footage that was recovered from the woods. David doesn't believe Jim Suerd is guilty, and he plans on using the movie to prove that. Soon a box of never-before-seen video footage shows up on David's doorstep. This footage was the last tape filmed within the woods by the hosts of "Fact of Fiction". Enlisting the help of Michelle Monarch (Michele Pulaski), a video editor, they begin working on restoring the footage and soon discover the truth about what happened that night. The only problem is, the truth turns out to be deadly.
What you see while watching The Last Broadcast is the movie that filmmaker David Leigh is creating. You see the various footage from the woods, interviews with various people including the police who arrested Jim Suerd, and you see David as he begins to reveal the truth of that night. The film is setup more like a documentary than anything else, but it does manage to be quite an enjoyable film. Since it's setup like a documentary, the pace is somewhat slow but the ending is quite good and surprising.
While many may call it a "Blair Witch ripoff", the truth of the matter is that The Last Broadcast was produced prior to The Blair Witch. It's certainly setup in the same sort of documentary style that The Blair Witch is, with recovered footage being pieced together into a film. However, I feel The Last Broadcast does well on standing on it's own with it's own uniqueness when compared to The Blair Witch. Obviously it's not nearly successful as The Blair Witch, and I can understand why. While The Last Broadcast is a good film, I felt that the scare level and tension that The Blair Witch had just wasn't there in The Last Broadcast. Things just happened too quickly and before you know it they're dead. I did enjoying the ending in The Last Broadcast, however, and I'm sure you all will as well. For those of you who didn't like The Blair Witch then I suspect you probably won't enjoy this film either. As with The Blair Witch, there's really no gore or graphic scenes in The Last Broadcast (well, some may consider one scene to be a bit graphic, or at least disturbing). Instead the film relies on the power of your imagination to help produce the scares.
The film is presented in the full screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio. There are some scenes which appear to be widescreen at 1.85:1, but the majority of the film is in widescreen. Most of the footage appears to be a bit on the dark side, and while this may be intentional I found it to be a bit too distracting. Towards the end of the film when they start showing the recently recovered footage, the quality is quite bad but this was definitely intentional since what's being shown is the never-before-seen footage that they've been restoring. I certainly can't knock them for that, since that was intentional, but I will knock it a bit for the darkness that appears, even during the interview scenes.
The sound is presented in stereo. Except when intentional, the sound was clear and audible. Some of the restore footage had some audio breakup, but again that was intentional.
There is a commentary track with writers/directors Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler, also included on various spots in the commentary is actors that were in the film. I really enjoyed the commentary track; Stefan and Lance consistently gave great comments on the film, filling us in with some of the secrets of the film itself and some of the effects that were done. There were very few gaps and they continue talking right up until the end credits, where they, unfortunately, are cut off.
Also included are three behind-the-scenes segments on distribution, production and post production. There's also a short feature called "The Legend of the Jersey Devil" which explains the real-life myth of the Jersey Devil (something that isn't done in the film itself). Each segments ranged from 2 minutes to 8 minutes. Each gave a good insight on how the film was produced and distributed. Amazingly, all of the effects in the film were done on a personal computer using programs such as Adobe Premiere. Another interesting tidbit is that the film was projected digitally throughout the country, and that a 35mm print was never created for the film. Definitely a lot of interesting information in these segments for fans of the film.
For a retail price of $19.95 this DVD really delivers the goods. The film itself is enjoyable and for anyone who liked The Blair Witch Project I'd imagine you liking this film as well. Definitely give it a rental or, for a retail price of $19.95, just go out and buy the film.
Movie - B
Image Quality - B
Sound - B+
Supplements - B+
- Running Time - 1 hour 27 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Director and cast commentary
- The Legend of the Jersey Devil
- Behind the Scenes of Production segment
- Behind the Scenes of Post Production segment
- Behind the Scenes of Distribution
- Theatrical trailers