The Barbados Project is a found footage sci-fi horror film that wears the genre’s tropes on its sleeve. Primarily following journalist Reesa Price (Cherah Belgrave) and her team as they expose a massive government conspiracy, the film teems with CGI footage of interdimensional monsters and classic found footage jump-cuts. The structure is like a documentary compiling the footage of these horrific attacks, flowing like Cloverfield meets a CIA documentary. Complete with alien possessions, giant crab-like monsters, and multi-versal theories, directors Thomas Burke and Stockton Miller (who also wrote the film) merge sci-fi and horror in a unique format.
A series of mysterious attacks on the island of Barbados is happening, but local authorities claim “it was all a military exercise.” But when footage of massive aliens and portals to the unknown begins to surface, Reesa seeks to uncover the truth behind the deception. The journalist and her team quickly find themselves out of their depth as a once-in-a-lifetime story may prove to be their last.
“…Price and her team..expose a massive government conspiracy…of interdimensional monsters…”
The film wears its creativity and indie cred like a badge of honor. Movies from Barbados are uncommon, at least in the United States. This fact alone makes it a triumph; when considering the beyond-low budget, the CG is impressive. But most notable in The Barbados Project is the zealous passion for filmmaking displayed by the entire cast and crew. When you look at a film like this, especially considering its budget, you see creativity, innovation, and a desire to showcase a love of cinema. The filmmakers’ love of the found footage genre is evident in every frame.
Unfortunately, the film is not without flaws. Despite having fun visuals and a commitment to its POV framework, many character moments happen with minimal build-up or progression. I love the idea of a documentary crew trying to uncover the truth about a ridiculous monster. But, what makes found footage horror such a fun genre is what we don’t see. The viewer’s imagination is often more horrifying than anything the camera can show.
As the credits rolled on The Barbados Project, I reflected on its hang-ups. While there are plenty of them, the film is a prime example of the innovative spirit of independent cinema. Burke and Miller carry on the tradition of making creative horror on a shoestring budget. The duo has created a fairly-solid sci-fi horror flick, but beyond that, they have opened doors for a new generation of filmmakers coming out of Barbados. The plot needs some polish and more time to develop its characters and build tension, but the film still left me riveted to see what future projects will come out of the island nation next.
"…wears its creativity and indie cred like a badge of honor."