A filmmaker discovers a box of video tapes depicting two students’ disturbing film project featuring a local horror legend, The Peeping Tom. As he sets out to prove this story is real and release it as a work of his own, he loses himself and the film crew following him into his project.
Is the Urban Legend of The Blink Man real? Writer/director Erik Kristopher Myers sets out to answer that question in his new movie BUTTERFLY KISSES. The film is a mash-up of urban legend meets found footage and it explores The Legend of The Blink Man (aka The Peeping Tom) who has been covered in print publications, youtube channels, and various websites (all unaffiliated with this movie). The film features appearances by Eduardo Sanchez (Blair Witch Project), Steve Yeager (Sundance-winning director of Divine Trash), Matt Lake (bestselling author of Weird Maryland and others), David Sterritt (former critic for The Christian Science Monitor and Chairman for the National Society of Film Critics), and Mike Jones (DJ at DC101, a leading Rock station owned by iHeartMedia).
Okay, with the plug info and the synopsis out of the way, let’s jump into Butterfly Kisses. Director Erik Myers was thoughtful enough to send us a copy of the film last week, so we’ve had some time to mull it over and collect our thoughts and to be honest, it was a pretty stellar ride. I enjoy a good found-footage film (emphasis on good) and this was just that — and a bit more. Butterfly Kisses is more of a found-footage film, wrapped in another found-footage film, covered in a documentary. I’ve really seen nothing quite like it before. Breaking it down, an ex-film student, Gavin, (who now is stuck in a rut shooting weddings) discovers a box of videos hidden in a recently bought house. The footage (yes, I am also getting tired of this word) is the work of a pair of (also ex) film students, Sophia and Feldman; a project on Peeping Tom (aka “The Blink Man”) and the urban legend surrounding him. Gavin, against everyone else’s better judgement, decides to complete the mysterious project by compiling it into a feature film and to document the process.
What we get is a film about a documentary about a filmmaker making a film about someone else’s film (I’m doing the same thing again now, sorry). If that sounds complex or tedious, it really isn’t. There are two sets of protagonists, experiencing the same events in different ways, all dealing with the difficulties of making movies, the ethics behind funding and the use of other peoples intellectual property, the trusting of others, straining relationships under pressure, the cost of production, and separating fact from fiction. It’s a very, very different kind of horror film where while the horror element definitely takes a back seat, it’s an ever-present entity that slowly blinks forward, scene by scene, with the viewer understanding that while we can close our eyes to the constant, daily problems that we face, we will eventually have to look our demons in the eye. It is heavy on themes and dilemmas, especially those faced people in the indie scene and it even takes some jabs at its own genre, which was really ballsy.
The film feels great, with fantastic acting by all and a solid, constant atmosphere which should have been altogether impossible with the constant switching between styles; documentary, black and white SD found footage, handhelds, etc. It has a good pace and a very well thought out story, especially considering the complexity of the editing and bringing all the storylines together. My one gripe would be that I would have liked more monster screen time. Peeping Tom is, for most of the movie, little more than a handful of pixels and something of the film’s zeitgeist rather than a literal one. It Follows is a comparable plot, but where the focus was more on the creature rather than the protagonists. With Butterfly Kisses, we rely heavily on a character-driven decent into darkness more out of desire and trepidation than we do jump scares and shock content — which for me means a better story and coherent plot, something I was thankful for.
If you, like my fellow penmen at Nevermore Horror, dislike the found-footage genre, this is definitely not going to be a film for you. If you are expecting jump scares and tons of visual effects, this is not going to be a film for you. That said, if you are considering a watch, this is easily one of the best genre films of the year and is absolutely captivating from start to end. It is well made, well edited, well acted, well shot, and a lovingly polished horror film. It is intelligent and has a surprising depth not usually associated with similar films. It can be considered something of a slow-burn, but that is due to the complexity of the characters, the development of the plot, and the overall point of the slowly approaching evil. I really loved the different direction Myers chose to take with the underlying themes and the meta-awareness of the genre itself. The film is available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD. Catch the trailer below. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
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