Butterfly Kisses: Review by @Kush_Hayes
Im a casual fan of the Found Footage genre thats been fluctuating in popularity over the last 20 years. Ive still not seen Cannibal Holocaust. Dont @ me. I think its a hard style to create. Theres definitely editing that needs to be done. In some cases youre asking “Who did edit this 82 minute project?”. But if done properly, it can make for really fantastic story telling. And so far theres really only so many ways you can do this well. I also think viewing format, how you watch the actual piece is important as well. Blair Witch Project is a movie Ive only seen on VHS, because thats the gimmick. I find most films in this genre work best on my laptop. Then there are movies that are great on normal modern TVs and we get to Butterfly Kisses…
Butterfly Kisses is not only a perfect mesh and understanding of this, but it also takes the genre and finds a way to make a unique story with it. It immediately sets up a mythology. It immediately makes you think that its established a viewing format. And then it shows you that youre not watching one story, youre actually watching much more than that. It has its mandatory jump scares but uses them sparingly as well as effectively. When it needs to be graphic its fractions of seconds to make your mind put together the rest of picture.
An aspiring filmmaker, so down on his luck, that when his mother in law finds a box of tapes randomly in her basement, its her intent that he recycles them to use for the few weddings hes hired to film, or even just sell for money. But upon viewing, he finds its an unfinished documentary about an urban legend with deadly consequences. Much like the two filmmakers in the tapes, when all signs point to run away, they cant help themselves but run towards the potential danger.
Our primary filmmaker, takes it upon himself to finish their film, and goes further to hire a third party film crew to document not only his discover, his process of finishing the film as well as marketing it and ultimately the descent his life takes, not just at home with family, but with the general public as well.
This is all very interesting Kush, but what is the myth? Whats the source? Whats this all about?
The answer to all that is a spector named “Peeping Tom” or “Mr Blink” or “Blinkman: its got a lot of names - we’re gonna address him as Tom. Tom lives at the end of a railroad tunnel. If you stand on the west end and look to the east end for one hour, without blinking, then Tom will appear and then everytime you do blink he gets closer and closer, til finally being so close to you, face to face that his eye lashes are fluttering yours like Butterfly Kisses.
And then you die.
I have to wonder how much tongue in cheek writer director Erik K Myers put into this legend. When I reread all that, it sounds silly. But each time I picture it, its a creepy thought. So that makes it a win. And then you understand its also not the biggest part of this movie. Its definitely Blair Witch meets The Ring (or Ringu for you gangsters), but thats just the pebble creating the ripple in the lake that is this movie.
The story within the story is ten years prior or 2004 two college filmmakers are doing a short documentary on a local town legend as explained above. The first couple of times they botch conjuring Tom, because not blinking for even five minutes is hard. Really, Try it. Then they get the idea that the camera should be able to achieve this flawlessly. And it does. But its not quite obvious til the editing phase. Again, important to note the time period because this portion of story uses Mini DV Tapes, and SD Digital Video (narratively speaking) where as our primary narrative is displayed in HD.
The movie, goes all over the place, but youre never lost. Part of that is the transitions of media format, but most of that is because Myers does a great job of blending what will be three stories together as that you see the madness and obsession that takes over all three directors in this movie, not just with the spector their films are ultimately about, but then there is a specter that has also imprinted upon them and death is only an inevitability.
This is the first Erik K Myers movie Ive seen. Im very impressed with what this movie was, and what made it different from the other Found Footage films. This definitely deserves an audience and I would like to see what Myers can do with a bigger budget. Maybe even with an already known property.
This checks a lot of the boxes for me. Its Funny when it should be, creepy when its supposed to be, great use of real people performing in supporting roles that actually fit with their real life so it gives the most believability. You feel like this is a real documentary that went very very wrong.
If you like Found Footage films, you will really enjoy this.
Four out of Six Blueberries