Altar (2016) Movie Review: Just More of the Same?

Just when you thought the found footage genre was dying out, here comes another supernatural found footage film called Altar. Does this film do anything new to reinvigorate this stale genre? Read on to find out!

Altar was directed and written by Matthew Sconce (Firefall: An Epic Family Adventure) and stars Stefanie Estes (Bethany) as Maisy Marks, Brittany Falardeau (The Guest) as Chelsea Rich, Tim Parrish (Lost in the Pacific) as Asher James, Jessica Strand (Ribbons) as Ancilla deValmont, Michael Wainwright (Lamb Feed) as Ripper, Deep Rai (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as Ravi Dara, and Jesse Parr as Bo Marks.

The official synopsis:

Altar is the terrifying story of a group of former classmates who get lost driving to a college reunion camp out in the Sierra Nevada mountains. After stopping for the night, they stumble onto something much darker. They must battle to escape the evil they unleashed to not only save their own lives but their souls as well.

Altar is another indie found footage film that really doesn’t stand out among the myriad of found footage films that have come out in the past couple of years. There just honestly wasn’t much that I liked about the film, but I will mention the few things that worked for me.

The location in the woods was a beautiful set piece, but unfortunately this seems to be the typical go to location for the majority of found footage films, so I can’t really give the filmmakers too much credit. The altar itself was a cool looking set piece. When the main protagonists stumble across it in the middle of the night, it just looks eerie. The mysterious blue lights that surround it gives the altar a supernatural look.

However, that is pretty much all that I liked about Altar. The rest is just your standard fare of found footage films. The acting was pretty bad, and every conversation didn’t feel natural, especially when Maisy interacts with her brother, Bo (who is the one behind the camera). Asher just seems to be in this film to cause drama. He starts off likeable enough, but out of nowhere, he just flips a switch and becomes your typical asshole-type character. As Bo, actor Jesse Parr in his feature length debut is the only one who does a good job as a person who struggles with Aspergers.

Besides the acting being pretty forgetful, the story itself is just, for the most part, boring and cliche. Nothing really happens for the first fifty minutes, and when the story finally starts to pick up, it seems to get worse. With the characters being as bland as they are, I just felt nothing for any of them when they are in peril. Hell, the ending itself just felt abrupt and left me wanting something more well defined, just so it didn’t feel like I had wasted my time.

As you may be able to tell, I was not a fan of Altar. There was just nothing here for me and it didn’t do anything that other found footage films before it have done. The film is available on VOD, so check it out and let us know what you think!

About Scott Crawford

I am an avid lover of horror films ever since I was a little boy. I have amassed a sizeable film collection in my life and it is one of my pride and joy. I also love video games and have been playing them since the days of the Intellivision. I currently play on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch and love all genres of games but mainly play single player story driven games mainly in the fantasy or horror genre. I also host a podcast called The Podcast by the Cemetery with two of my friends and we talk horror and video games.

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