It’s amazing just how many so-called ‘found-footage’ films there are these days. After the success of The Blair Witch Project, many other independent filmmakers have also sought to make their mark with small budgets and films that supposedly consist of actual footage from real (and usually scary) events. The basic idea isn’t bad but there is a problem with too many films trying to cash in on this style of picture. In other words, after a while the films start to have a certain sameness to them and few of the more recent found footage films are particularly watchable. This is my problem with Apocalyptic, as it fails to break new ground and has an all too familiar ending.

An Australian journalist and her film crew are shown at the beginning of the movie attending an AA-type meeting for addicts. However, one of the participants talks about having escaped from a cult and the reporter smells a story. So, she and the crew get permission from the cult leader, Michael, to stay with them and record their lives. The cult, it turns out is very small–with about a dozen followers. All are women apart from Michael.

Written & Directed by
Glenn Triggs
Jane Elizabeth Barry, David Macrae, Geoff Pinfield
Release Date
September 2014
Martin’s Grade: D+

At first the group seems odd but also quite happy. Sure, there are some weird aspects to the group–such as Michael claiming to have divine authority as well as his sleeping with most of the women, yet the group still seems fairly normal. However, through the course of the film, Michael reveals himself to be a Jim Jones-type guy and he plans on a mass suicide. This final portion was not especially original–not only because of the famous Jonestown tragedy but because of another recent found-footage movie, The Sacrament, which pretty much recreates the Jonestown deaths. It also comes off as a bit exploitational and creepy watching all this at the end, as opposed to being scary.

So it any good? Well, the film work is pretty much what you expect from such a movie and you get the jerky camera, folks running and the like. But the story, as I already mentioned, lacks freshness. It’s just a case of ‘been there/done that’ and the ending is clearly what most folks watching the film are expecting. It would have been a lot more interesting with some OTHER twist–anything but what the film seemed to telegraph during the first hour or so of the picture. I think everyone associated with the project tried hard and it’s watchable, but nothing more unfortunately. Had the film come out 10-20 years ago, I probably would have scored it a bit higher.

by Martin Hafer