After the astounding success of 'The Blair Witch Project' there was a host of imitators, rip-offs and bad sequels.There was the inevitable spoof and porn version and then this little curio. It initially caused controversy by claiming it was developed before Blair Witch and that they stole a lot of its ideas. Whether that's true or not, 'The Blair Witch Project' evidently took more lessons on how not to do it rather than how to do it effectively as 'The Last Broadcast' has an intriguing premise, but little follow through.'The Last Broadcast' is a 'documentary' by David Leigh who is investigating the legend of the Jersey Devil and the murders in the Pine Barrens. It seems that an internet tv show 'Fact or Fiction' comprising of hosts Steven and Locus, soundman Rein and psychic Jim, trecked up to the Pine Barrens to try and track down the legendary Jersey Devil. Only Jim came back however, covered in the blood of the other three.
Jim was convicted of the murder of the other 2 (one was never found) but David is convinced someone else was responsible and is reconstructing their last fragments of broadcast to determine just who, or what.
Comparisons with 'The Blair Witch Project' are inevitable due to its form (recovered videotape holds the truth to the mystery) and its content (the spooky action takes place deep in the woods). However this comparison simply reveals that 'The Last Broadcast' is 'The Blair Witch Project's inferior cousin. The protagonists aren't as well defined here. We liked Heather, Josh and Mike despite their flaws and we wanted them to get out which gave it an emotional tug as they ventured further and further to their doom. Here, Steven, Locus and Rein aren't the focus of the documentary so it's hard to feel their fear.
And crucially, 'The Last Broadcast' just isn't that scary. In putting together a documantary David, interviews a lot of other people which fatally pulls the focus away from the footage in the woods. It may mean it has more realism as a documentary having lots of talking heads surrounding the footage, but it lacks the singular narrative of 'The Blair Witch Project'. Once you were in the woods with the trio there was no getting out. Here however, you veer from the footage to random people so may times the atmosphere drains away.
And then there's the ending. It's not so much a twist as a complete turn around from the film which takes it into a completely different form and genre. While it's a trippy and vaguely creepy ending it also renders everything before it utterly pointless. It's an experiment that while audacious is barely credible and undoes the previous 80 minutes.'The Last Broadcast' has an obvious low budget but despite that it has some eerie thrills to it and is fairly interesting. It doesn't quite work however and you only wish that if they'd spent more time in the woods and less time elsewhere then 'The Blair Witch Project' might have had a great companion piece.