Project X (TheByteScene Review)

This film is unrated

The party deserves 4 clearly-self-destructive-stars out of 4

This isn’t a movie. Certainly, it has all the qualities that would produce the components necessary to call it a movie, but its difficult to call Project X a movie. Even as a documentary, it fails entirely, as very little of it contains anything close to resembling a documentary. Yes, there’s a camera documenting the events that occur throughout the film, and there’s a clear message that’s being delivered, but Project X is also impossible to classify as a documentary. Instead, Project X is a party. In fact, its an awesome party, and once the audience realizes that they aren’t meant to enjoy the film as a film, they can start enjoying the party.

Annoyingly, the party tries to maintain its film origins. It has characters, a basic plot, and cinematography. It has editing, and sound effects, cut together so an audience can make sense of it all. It even has conflict, and a romantic subplot, to appeal to the more distinguished viewers. These features, however, only take away from the party. The characters are catalysts for the events portrayed on screen, and while there is motivation and dialogue, its all poor, cliche’, and adequately written. The film components take away from the party, and if a viewer tries to focus on the movie, like I did for half of the film, they’ll be sorely disappointed.

Its impossible to view Project X as anything more than what it advertises: the best party ever. I don’t want to say a viewer needs to rid themselves of their brain at the door, because that won’t help at all. Instead, viewers need to think and constantly remind themselves that they can’t look at the movie as a movie. They need to remind themselves that they’re watching the events of a party unfold. There have been many, many party movies. There have been comedies, romances, and an abundant amount of horrors, but Project X isn’t one of those films.

Its a series of events that devolves into absolute madness and interestingly, these events are to be expected. Nothing that happens in this film is unexpected. The three main male characters set themselves up for the results they produce, and while a scene has them asking “What happened,” they should know that they did this, and that they are entirely responsible for everything that happened. I’m not saying that they should have known better, which they should have, I’m saying that they shouldn’t have been so surprised that the ex-military drug dealer they spoke to early on returns with a vengeance. It was bound to happen.

Of course, that’s one more problem with looking at Project X as a movie; because of the found footage structure, expertly put together by a character named Dax (who remains the most interesting), and because of the nature of the production, movie elements make it resemble a bad rap video. Music is added at certain intervals to accentuate the events portrayed, and because of this, the film actually spends most of the party scenes resembling a music video.

Other, more intimate moments, where the actors are sharing screen time, are shot in traditional styles, though more stylistic elements are present. It’s clear that film cameras aren’t being used, and that only the techniques are being incorporated, though as mentioned earlier, these scenes only take away from the party since the plot they attempt to create is faulty. A romantic subplot is added to the film for no other possible reason than the main character needing some redeemable quality. Apart from these scenes, the party is shot by flip cams, cell phone cameras, and a single film camera held by an almost always offscreen character named Dax.

Dax must be discussed again, as his presence is, perhaps, the most interesting. He is onscreen twice, once during the beginning and once during the end, though he is ever present, recording everything he sees as nothing more than an observer. Even during the most volatile and pivotal plot moments, he does not intervene. Even during scenes where his input could save the lives of other characters, he doesn’t intervene. Dax truly embodies the audience. He only views, and even though he knows he should do something, he doesn’t. His complacency is both frightening and admirable, as he maintains his conviction as a recorder until the end of the film.

Other characters are tropes, and considering that it’s a single high school party, I’m not disappointed. The party lasts a single night, and considering that only three or four characters were really truly affected, it’s unsurprising that they didn’t change. However, the footage makes a very strong point that is almost entirely ignored: regardless of what they may be doing, these students, these characters, these tropes, are kids. It’s not stressed, and only a few scenes ever hint at anything more, but the characters we see on screen really are just kids, trying their best to fit in and be popular.

It’s an almost Hughes like moment when the popular girl is turned down by the main character so he can chase his romantic foil. She’s left alone, in a seemingly empty room being filmed by another character hiding in the closet. She seems sad, empty, longing for attention, and that’s all she gets before a lewd joke is made, and the party continues. I truly wonder what the footage could’ve been if more attention was paid to the film, and the not the party.

Regardless, Project X is an adequate film. There is little substances to anything that happens, and even the most critical of moments are just moments. There is little resonance from the audience, and I found that I was only concerned when everything was going wrong. Even then, I wasn’t concerned for the characters so much as the plot. That being said, I can’t deny it, it was an absolutely amazing party.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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