Film Review: ALTAR (2016)

Film Review: ALTAR (2016)

Jul 15, 2017

IMDb: Altar (2016)
Director: Matthew Sconce
Stars: Stefanie Estes, Brittany Falardeau, Tim Parrish

“Did you ever see a scary movie, ever? We are not walking up to a blue light in the woods.” These words are spoken during the opening minutes of ALTAR, a found footage horror film from writer/director Matthew Sconce. Of course they do walk towards the light and sure enough bad things happen. This little prologue sets the tone for the main film.

A group of old college friends plan a reunion. After getting lost and breaking down in the middle of nowhere they stumble upon the altar and some disturbing goings on, including a skull that starts bleeding. For once showing some intelligence they get the hell out of there, but distance alone may not be enough to save them.

Regular readers of my reviews, (there are some of you, aren’t there?), know I’m not a big fan of the found footage genre, there’s been far too many films promising far to much but only delivering the same tired cliches. ALTAR however mixes things up a little and plays much more like a conventional film. Why most of the footage exists is handled in a logical and unobtrusive manner, though the film looks a little to polished at times to have come from a GoPro strapped to somebody’s head. Purists will also object to the occasional use of soundtrack music though it didn’t occur to me until afterwards that it shouldn’t be there.

One thing that unfortunately remains the same is the film’s rather slow pace. After the opening segment it’s pretty much all talk for a long stretch. There is a very creepy interlude that further sets up the last act, but that’s it until the altar makes it’s reappearance. ALTAR never actually gets boring, what’s going on is interesting it just may leave those wanting more horror feeling unsatisfied. It all does build to an effectively hair raising ending, and those who can deal with the pacing will be rewarded.

Altar is currently available on most VOD platforms