Where is the line drawn between what constitutes a ripoff versus a homage? If a filmmaker is a long time fan of a genre and puts references to other genre films in their film, is it a ripoff? Moreso if the film is taking a premise that has been done before but takes it in a different direction is it unoriginal? These are questions that are asked more and more especially in an age where it feels like every concept has been done at least once if not dozens of times. Without a doubt, though 8ight After is a blatant carbon copy of other films that were critical successes and bring nothing original to the table.
Vince and Deanna are living the sweet life of not only being a filmmaker and a zoo veterinarian respectively but also being vlog stars. While filming a home remodeling vlog they find a mysterious box hidden in the wall containing a portate cross necklace. Soon after the find, they both begin to experience doors moving on their own and shadows moving around the house. While Deanna is terrified, Vince plans to catalog the strange occurrences and solve the dark past of the house.
If the synopsis sounded at all familiar, the plot is a mash-up of the first two Paranormal Activity movies down to 8ight After taking the security camera set up from the second film. Scenes are just recreated from other horror films such as the leg-pulling made famous in The Conjuring and the attempted love scene that is interrupted from Paranormal Activity 3. For anyone who is a genre fan, these scenes become very distracting and feel like a watered-down version of what we have already seen before. At one point Vince is talking to a man who doesn’t like Quentin Tarantino because he views his homages as ripoffs, and the point feels so hammered in it is hard to tell if the director is being ironic or painfully unaware.
While there are ways to rip off a film and end up with your own take, how Friday the 13th aped off of the success of Halloween, 8ight After does nothing new for the found footage or the supernatural genre. From start to finish the only thing that the film has going for it is the charisma of its leads and that even becomes tiresome as the film trudges along. Where there should be a slow ramp-up in the danger and hauntings, there is nothing but the same occurrences over and over. By the end, it is nothing short of shocking how little actually happens in its 98-minute run time.
It is always exciting when it is announced that a director that has made the next horror masterpiece has always been a fan of the horror genre. In a time where horror is more respected than it has ever been, it is exciting to see new talent who are long time fans make their mark. It is less exciting when a film like 8ight After arrives on the scene and is just a clip show of some of our favorite movie moments, but worse.
2 out of 10