Butterfly Kisses Image

“…chronicles both the hunt for a horrifying local urban legend and a documentarian’s last-ditch effort to launch his own directorial career.”

The film takes the form of a behind-the-scenes documentary about a down-on-his-luck, married-with-child wedding videographer named Gavin York (Seth Adam Kallick). He makes a startling discovery in his in-laws’ basement: a cache of early 2000s-era Mini DV tapes purportedly shot by a pair of college students who met their mysterious ends while making a documentary on a folkloric demon known as “Peeping Tom”. 

Seeing the tapes as the basis for a real-life found-footage movie that will propel him to filmmaking fame and fortune, Gavin sets out to investigate the tapes authenticity and, at the same time, generate some pre-release buzz for the project that he’s convinced will be a “game-changer” on the same level as Blair Witch. A film crew (Myers himself being the director) follows him throughout the process, and thus – in a particularly “meta” move – Butterfly Kisses is mainly about a documentary that’s being made about the making of a documentary that is, itself, about the making of a documentary.

That’s all sort of head-spinning, conceptually, but Myers and editor Kenny Johnson prove to be quite adept not only at making things easy to follow for viewers but also in steadily ratcheting up suspense and interest as the film cuts back-and-forth between the 2004-set segments (shot in grainy black-and-white) and the present-day material. The realism of those “found-footage” sequences – in which doomed filmmaking duo Sophia (Rachel Armiger) and Feldman (Reed DeLisle) unwisely attempt to capture “Peeping Tom” on camera – is somewhat marred by a certain woodenness in the performances, but that quality actually serves the story; a significant part of Gavin’s difficulty in finding backers for his project is that nearly everyone he shows the footage to believes it’s all been staged, either by him or the original filmmakers.

“…that thread of cynicism and self-awareness…establishes Butterfly Kisses as a smart alternative to standard fright-flick fare.”

What might be Butterfly Kisses‘ biggest deviation from standard supernatural horror storytelling is that “Peeping Tom” himself is afforded basically no backstory at all. Yes, there is a particular methodology for how to conjure him, and yes, the way he’ll “get you” once you’ve done so is clearly explained, but – in yet another clever, thematically appropriate choice – his origins and motivations are never once explored by anyone in the film. It’s as if Sophia, Feldman, and, later on, Gavin aren’t really all that interested in actually learning anything about him at all – he’s just a means to an end for two separate generations of ambitious filmmakers desperate to claim that they’ve put something never-before-seen onto movie screens.

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  1. Johnathan D Frazier says:

    The movie had potential but honestly they ruined it bad I mean bad bad and I love shitty found footage movies and I also live in maryland and been to the places in the movie and seriously so disappointing I mean the fake found footage they found had better acting then the actual actors lol

  2. Ron Peloquin says:

    An excellent review which compels me to see the film, and soon.

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