THE LAST FIVE DAYS (2020)
Directed by Clay Moffatt
Written by Clay Moffatt & Joe Pacini
Starring Clay Moffatt, Joe Pacini, Adam Berardi
While found footage films have always been small crew/small cast productions, with the current state of the world makes even that pretty challenging. I think that this is going to give rise to creative ways to tell new and bold stories. There are also going to be a lot of films put together with a lick and a promise. Sadly, I think that’s the case with THE LAST FIVE DAYS.
The tried and true chestnut of the school project is the reason this found footager leans on for existing as two student filmmakers decide to investigate a pair of supposedly haunted locations near them—one a haunted orchard where the workers all supposedly went crazy and the other, a mountaintop where a ghost is supposed to push those who climb to the peak. After visiting both sites, the pair seem to bring back something paranormal to their apartment. The rest of the film builds to what is explained in the opening, that the bodies of two students were found mutilated in an apartment with the footage we are watching.
Now, THE LAST FIVE DAYS is an extremely low budgeter and most likely a first project for these two filmmakers, Clay Moffatt and Joe Pacini, who are also the stars of the film. Just having the ability to put together a film is admirable enough and though this is a rough batch of cinema with limited acting skill and a low amount of genuine scares, there are moments that tell me that these guys might have a chance with future projects. The story itself is solid. I don’t know if these are true urban myths the two are investigating, but they are ripe with potential for some scary moments. I like the idea that the two seemingly unrelated hauntings are connected in some way. I also like the fact that part of the curse has to do with eating some kind of weird fruit that results in some kind of paranormal possession of some sort. There is a reveal in the last couple of minutes of the film that I think comes way too late involving the origins of the haunted orchard. You shouldn’t be revealing key info about your story five minutes before the credits. But from a writing standpoint, these are strong ideas worth plumbing.
The biggest problem with THE LAST FIVE DAYS is that apart from telling these details to the viewer, the film just doesn’t have the budget or creative shortcuts to bring these ideas to life. This leads to a decent descent into madness story, but not a good execution of it playing out on camera. As far as authenticity’s concerned, everything feels unproduced, with no forced camera angles, no additional music, or no multiple camera edits that would somehow take away from the concept that this is found footage. It’s passes the authenticity test, but I feel that it just doesn’t make it as an entertaining full length film. A short film might have been a better way to communicate this story, with the prep for the trip, the trip to the two locations, and then a truncated version of the stuff back home. It’s the aftermath of the trip itself that ended up being tedious for me to sit through and ultimately, where the film begins to fall apart.
This is a noble effort from two very young filmmakers. Hopefully, this is a promising, but flawed beginning to long careers.