Director – Daniel Myrick
Cast – Jonas Ball, Matthew R. Anderson, Jon Huertas, Michael C. Williams, Michael C. Williams, Sam Hunter, Jeff Prewett, Kenny Taylor, Chems-Eddine Zinoune, Qzaibar Allal
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This flick had my interest for quite some time because it involved what appeared to be a strong military aspect, which due to my love for the element of war I figured would be pretty cool mixed with the horror genre. It worked well with Outpost, decently for R-Point, and not so well with Red Sands, but the idea of a horror/war flick intruiged me, and the supernatural element only made things cooler. Well, while The Objective was not as great as I wanted it to be, it still provided me with a cool story and mostly-positive direction from The Blair Witch Project co-writer/co-director Daniel Myrick.
A team of highly trained special ops personnel lead by CIA operative Benjamin Keynes is sent deep into the mountains of the Middle East to make contact with a well-known spiritual leader. What seems like an easy and straightforward mission soon turns to terror when they come across unknown horrors unexplainable and unlike anything ever seen before, and soon learn the true reasoning behind this secret mission.
The fact that this came directed and co-written by Daniel Myrick meant absolutely nothing to me, and I in fact did not even realize he was involved until I was just about to hit the Play button. I am not saying that I don’t like the guy, although I think The Blair Witch Project is overrated, but the film was marketed as his newest film, as was Eduardo Sanchez’s decent Altered, although I don’t think such marketing should matter very much when it comes to these guys. Myrick’s story was an interesting one in that it involves a supernatural/war element that we do not see too too often in the genre, and he managed to craft this tale fairly well for the most part. As expected with these supernatural/war flicks, we get a fair amount of psychological horror thrown into the mix, and while I enjoy psychological horror I really wish that for once we would get a supernatural/war horror flick that does not rely on psychological horror so much and instead gives us good supernatural horror. The story moves slow at times, focusing heavily on development and keeping the viewer in the dark much in the vein of how the special ops guys were kept in the dark over the true nature of their mission. I enjoyed this tactic, however in the end it wound up keeping the film from achieving high potential given Myrick kept us from the truth for way too long, only allowing the last few sequences of the film to get things going. Simply put, by then it was too late. If the real horror has not kicked in by the time the third act has begun then you pretty much have a failed effort as far as story goes, and that was the case with this one.
Myrick’s direction is mostly positive, with unique visuals, great camerawork, and a seemingly high production value given the locations and the fantastic use of weaponry and combat. For most low-budget films we are given cheezy usage of weapons and combat tactics, but it seems the filmmakers really did their homework, or hired outside help, and made this effort as real and enjoyable as possible as far as those elements go. This added a fair amount of excitement and good action to the film, but as far as the horror goes Myrick left me a bit unsatisfied. His execution of the actors and the horror they experienced was good, but the horror that we are given aside from that was a bit lame and quite honestly…cheap. The CGI used was unfavorable, and even then when you consider what the CGI consisted of the sour feeling I had was made worse. A bit of live-action horror here and there would have helped, and while budget constraints may have held Myrick back from doing what he wanted to do, the fact is…the horror was not on par with what I need for a truly positive experience, resulting in this decent watch that could have been better.
Overall, The Objective is an OK film and the first feature effort from Daniel Myrick since The Blair Witch Project, and despite the film’s somewhat original overall storyline his screenplay falls flat by never truly delivering decent horror until it is way too late. His direction is good at times, but just like his screenplay he tends to fall flat at the wrong times, keeping this from being anything special and just a decent watch if you want to see something different regarding supernatural/war horror flicks.