12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2002
SFE is not groundbreaking. If you are a stuck up little film snot, then this movie probably isn't for you because it's meant to be fun. If you are cynical, pretentious, or only watch "films" and never "movies" (you know who you are), please, show yourself to the door.
Okay, the rest of you? Still there? Good. Let's get down to business.
SFE is a lot like sitting around and telling scary stories during a sleepover. All it is really, is a device that is trying to spook you. Let yourself go and you stand a great chance of being freaked out by this movie. I know I was.
The story is simple. Take "Blair Witch," cut the general plot and characters (plus a few more) and paste the whole deal into a haunted house. Add minimal FX and wash, rinse, repeat.
The best difference between SFE and BWP is that SFE feels like there is some design to the way it was made. It feels produced, but scarier because it wasn't made by some kids in the forest who don't know the first thing about suspense (or in their case, improvisation).
If you're looking for a fun way to kill a friday night, give it a whirl. I think you'll like it.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2004
I've read some of the reviews of this film (good and bad) and I cannot believe the people who wrote the bad reviews actually thought it was supposed to be real. Did you really think the Blair Witch Project was real as well? These are MOVIES!
If you accept BLAIR WITCH and ST. FRANCISVILLE for what their producers intended; Cheaply made, scripted movies pretending to be documentaries, then you'll begin to see the fun in them.
And St. Francisville was a fun film. There were actually some very good (and frightful) moments. The chair flying across the room, for one. The people who are upset that B.W. and ST. Francisville are "obvious fakes" are probably confused as to why The Beatles allowed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to perform on one of their albums.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2005
You have to love a good ghost story to enjoy "The St. Francisville Experiment," a rehash of the immensely popular "Blair Witch Project" which came out the year before in 1999. Both films are pseudo documentaries filmed by annoying youngsters who set out to crack the mystery of ominous old legends. In both cases, the kids start their respective expeditions confident and self-assured, hand-held cameras jerking about while they spout wisecracks at the nearest shadows. Eventually, the kids end up terrified, surrounded by supernatural forces they could never have imagined.
I consider "The Blair Witch Project" to be a modern-day horror classic, well acted and perfectly executed. It frightened me, and I enjoyed the fact that the monsters could never quite be seen. The filmmakers caught lightning in a bottle, and when they released its fiercely mediocre sequel a couple of years later, it was apparent the magic was gone.
There is some magic in "The St. Francisville Experiment," but it is still inferior to "The Blair Witch Project" in almost every way. The acting is forced, the locale at a supposed haunted house in Louisiana is only slightly eerie, and the conclusion is never believable. And yet there's a scene, when a ghostly specter makes an appearance, that will definitely give you the creeps. It's all fun, and perhaps the young at heart will get a kick out of this carnival ride.
Four kids, including a filmmaker, historian, psychic and the obligatory "team leader," decide to spend the night in a haunted house. Prior to the big bash, the history of the house is documented. Somehow, and none too convincingly, they connect the house's history with the infamous New Orleans' legend of Madame LaLaurie. An 1830s Creole socialite who lived in the French Quarter, her house supposedly burned down and discovered within was a torture chamber where she conducted hideous experiments on slaves. She fled New Orleans in the middle of the night and, according to this film, eventually holed up in the secluded St. Francisville home.
The Madame LaLaurie legend, the Grand Guignol of New Orleans ghost stories, has never been convincingly proven, though it has been recited for over 100 years. I actually enjoyed the fact that "The St. Francisville Experiment" attempted to connect its story with this most famous of urban legends. The tale is as creepy as the set-up for "The Blair Witch Project," and unlike the latter film, the legend is at least partially based on fact.
The kids arrive in the middle of the night, enter the house and begin exploring its interior. The house is certainly authentic, but it's apparent that at least someone arrives on a regular basis to dust and clean its interior. But never mind. Closets are explored, a seance is conducted and a chair flies across the attic - and it all works for the most part. My problem at this point is the growing fear of the actors. Their hyperventilating terror is never convincing and it is abundantly clear they are mimicking the very good performances from "The Blair Witch Project." Additional secrets are discovered, including hidden chambers, but I realized I could have just as well bought a ticket to a Halloween funhouse for the same scares.
The beauty of "The Blair Witch Project" was that during its frantic running time, there was never a moment of doubt. Certainly the documentary was fabricated, but it was always convincing. I was never convinced by "The St. Francisville Experiment." Had the filmmakers spent a bit more time with their idea, they could have struck a nerve. There is always something unsettling about an old abandoned house, similar to what was seen during the final moments of "The Blair Witch Project." But the house used in this film, even with its hidden chambers and old furniture, looks like a display at the local museum.
It took a great amount of skill and imagination to pull off "The Blair Witch Project." There were so many missteps that could have been taken. None were. "The St. Francisville Experiment" lumbers around and makes these very mistakes. We see chains falling, chairs flying and ghosts hovering within mirrors. I liked the ghost, but the film leaves little to the imagination, and thus its authenticity is compromised. For a low budget flick such as this, that is a mistake.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2004
C'mon all you snobs out there! Where is your IMAGINATION? Of course this is a BWP ripoff...but so what? It was entertaining, and it had a couple moments that were so eerie, so creepy as to induce goosebumps. yes, the end is a bit of a letdown, but the initial chills were fun. If you can watch this little piece of atmosphere alone, in a dark room, without getting that feeling--you know...that cold dread of fear at the base of the spine...as it slowly moves upward, the hair on your arms stands up, the skin begins to crawl, the heart beats a bit harder, now there is definately a creeping,cold chill...like dead fingers brushing at the base of your skull washing over you and your no longer sure that you WANT to see whats in the attic, or in that closet...or what might be hidden, behind those old clothes, in that hole in the wall,--at least once...well, my friend, you are officially jaded. too bad for you!
This is a well done ghost/haunted house story. Lots of atmosphere and tension, could have used more subtlty for realism, but oh well. The ending is fun, albeit a tad cheezy, and a nice little capper for the story. For those of you who were angry at the BWP for not showing you the MONSTA (which i can't understand, by the way. GOD that movie scared the hell out of me!!!), well...don't blink or you'll miss it, cuz there is a gin-yu-wine RAH RAH MONSTA in this old house. Don't see this if you NEED for it all to be REAL (you know who you are)...it aint, but it has an "almost there" quality to it. See this if you want to watch a fun, genuinely freaky movie that delivers some real spoooooky chills.
All in all, nicely done. Could have taken a couple lessons in subtlty for full creep-out effect, but certainly could have been worse!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2001
Based on an intriguing premise, the filmmakers hired four bad actors to spend the night in a haunted house, which in actuality is a very nice home somebody obviously left for the weekend so the film could be fabricated. A legitimate ghost hunter was brought in to make things even more authentic.
But, alas, nothing does happen in the house, so a bunch of dumb, cheap and non-scary sight gags (no pun intended) had to be created to fill in the gaps. The result is a cross between "The Real World" (with participants only half as intelligent -- now that's saying something) and a day in the worst amusement park haunted house ever.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2007
This is one one the Cheesiest, Silly, Predictable, Cliched,Shock-O-Rama movies to come out in 30 years that actually works. I'm sorry, this movie is tons of fun and contains some real scares that will raise the hairs on your neck. Is it a rip-off of "Blair Witch Project"? Yes! But you know what? It works. It has great scares and would be perfect for a little girls sleepover at Halloween Time. I am a sucker for this type of flick!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2000
I bought this thing. As one reviewer said, "It's Awful". There is no excuse for trying to pawn this off as "true"."The Last Broadcast" is an award winner compared to this.1-Four troglodytes with no real experience attempt to cleanse a house of ghosts.2- The house is haunted by a serial murderess from New Orleans who might have fled to St. Francisville.There is also another ghost there whose name is Charles.Actually he is the only one who has any intellegence in the whole movie.3-The four take on an abandoned antebellum house that is completely furnished and immaculately clean.Even the attic has no dust or cobwebs .The house is fully electric and the power is on4-They continue to inform the ghosts that they are protected by divine white light.Also, they love them and want to help them.Of course the ghosts see through this, as they listen to the cursing and other foul language coming out of the four. If you can get through this consider yourself possessed with the virtue of patience.The ghost Charles, we are told, calls 911 to get rid of the four dodos.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2005
I have no idea if this was actually a real documentary or if it was staged, but either way I found it frightening. It's a good little ghost story. The only thing that made me want to cringe is that annoying psychic Madison!! Oh god! Every time she would talk I would just cringe. What a dramatic young lady. Too much drama ruins things. Overdramatization...ugh!! But all in all if you liked The Blair Witch Project you will probably like this one as well. It was entertaining and kept my interest.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2002
THIS IS A SPOOKY STYLE FILM SIMILAR IN WAYS TO THE BLAIR-WITCH PROJECT. HOWEVER, UNLIKE THAT FILM, THIS FILM MAY JUST SPOOK YOU. ANOTHER POSITIVE IS THAT IT DOESN'T GET YOU QUITE AS CAMERA SICK!!
THIS FILM SUCCEEDS IN KEEPING YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT AND IT ALSO SUCCEEDS IN SCARING YOU. IT DESERVES SOME RECOGNITION, EVEN THOUGH THE END OF THE FILM MAY NOT PLEASE YOU.
ALL IN ALL, HOWEVER, IF YOU ENJOY A SPOOKY MOVIE, THEN SEE THIS MOVIE AT ALL COSTS!!!
WHAT IS KEPT TO THE IMAGINATION IS SCARIER THAN THAT WHICH YOU SEE AND MORE MOVIES NEED TO BE THAT WAY.
JUST BECAUSE THERE IS SPECIAL EFFECTS TECHNOLOGY, IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT IT'S NECESSARY TO MAKE A SCARY MOVIE.
THIS FILM KEEPS THAT IN MIND AND IT DOES BUT THING- SCARE YOU!!!
SO, TURN THE LIGHTS OUT AND PUT THIS MOVIE IN- PREFERABLY AT NIGHT TIME!!!
HAVE SOMEONE WITH YOU AND ENJOY THIS HAUNTED HOUSE STORY!!!
DON'T WATCH IT ALONE!!!!
NOTE: THERE IS A LIMITED USE OF PROFANITY, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE LANGUAGE!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This movie was essentially a fictionalized version of an episode of Ghost Hunters, and it was ok at that (I'm a big fan of Ghost Hunters, so perhaps I'm overly lenient). The story was very basic; a team of ghost hunters decide to explore the alleged hauntings of a home, only to find that there are in fact some nasty ones there. If I could, I'd probably give it 2.5 stars, not 3, but it was an ok experience. Obviously low budget, but the acting wasn't ridiculously bad. The story was ok, and decently built to a few scary moments. Good for a rental if you're in the mood for this type of story.