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I bet you have heard of the film "The Blair Witch Project" which took the world by storm a few years ago. Most people think that it was totally original and a breath of fresh air to the film industry.  Unknown to the majority of people, "The Last Broadcast" was made a couple of months before "Blair Witch" and is very similar.

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Movie
"The Last Broadcast" is unique in that it was one of the first feature films to be cut using a consumer-based desktop PC. The film has recently been mentioned in Focus magazine as it made history, as it was the first feature film to be released digitally via satellite to theatres across the U.S. Even with all this hype "The Last Broadcast" has still gone relatively unknown but it deserves a lot of credit for its original plot and clever ending.

Onto the Story then. "The Last Broadcast" is essentially a documentary, which lasts over 90 minutes. This might sound boring but believe me it is not!  Filmmaker David Leigh decides to make a documentary on the famous murders of a TV crew in New Jersey. The incident occurred in 1995 when four men desperate for their TV station to succeed ventured into the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to do a live broadcast about the legendary Jersey Devil. Steven Avkast and Locus Wheeler are the two main charcters who own the TV show "Fact or Fiction". After poor ratings they decide to do the live Internet and satellite broadcast from the Pine Barrens. The pair take on some helper and set off for the broadcast full of hope. There was only one survivor from the four members that went into the woods. His name is James Suerd who was into magic and the Internet. Obviously being the only survivor he is the prime suspect and he actually gets sentenced with the murders. Suerd has a violent nature at times and this was enough to persuade the jury that he was guilty. However filmmaker David Leigh is not so convinced and decides to make a documentary and try to clear Suerd of the murders.

"The Last Broadcast" can really be split up into several different types of film. It starts off as a documentary. The film starts with new footage reporting the murders and it shows interviews with relatives and friends. The film has a documentary feel throughout the movie but at certain times during the film we are also shown live footage of what actually happened before the murders. This aspect of the film is very similar to "The Blair Witch Project". The film then has a surprising twist at the end, which seems to ditch the documentary and live style and completely twists the whole story. The good thing about this film is that the murderer is kept secret till the end so you don't know if Suerd was the culprit or if it was some kind of supernatural force.

Last Broadcast, The
I would say one of the main strengths of this film is the acting. All the actors were unknown before this film and they all do an excellent job. Even some of the people who are being interviewed are believable and you would not know that it was only a film. You wouldn't really know that they were acting. The Directors Stefan Avalos and Steven Avkast play the two main characters in this movie. Avalos plays Steven Avkast who is the brains behind the "Fact or Fiction" show. Steven Avkast plays Locus Wheeler. The two directors combine their roles impressively. They seem to have a good understanding of the characters they are playing and at certain points in the film I forgot that I was actually watching a movie. The other actor worth mentioning is David Beard who plays filmmaker David Leigh. Beard’s role is like a narrator and he tells the story of what happened in the build up to the broadcast and what he thinks happened. His role is an important part of the movie and he does a good job in keeping the audiences attention.

There are great debates about whether "The Last Broadcast" is better than "The Blair Witch Project". To be honest I enjoyed both of them. I would say that "The Last Broadcast" is the clever film though as it raises some interesting points about the Internet and the convience of convicting people if there is not enough evidence. The film introduces the idea of the Internet having a part to play in violent crimes. "The Last Broadcast" has an 18 certificate which I think is a little over the top really. The film is very creepy but there is very little violence and swearing. I suppose the only real reason for the rating is due to the nature and topic of the movie. Overall "The Last Broadcast" is a very original and thought provoking movie. It is a nice change from the normal Hollywood blockbusters.

Video
Due to the nature of the movie the transfer of this film is perfectly acceptable. The picture is not supposed to be crystal clear so don’t expect a transfer as clear as some of the recent Hollywood blockbusters. The only disappointment is that this film has an aspect ratio of 4.3. Saying that "The Last Broadcast" doesn't have a lot of things happening on screen at any time so a different ratio is not really needed. Overall an acceptable and effective transfer.

Last Broadcast, The
Audio
A Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is provided on the disc. As with the sound, there are plenty of other discs available which show off the DVD format but to be honest "The Last Broadcast" does not need a flashy Dolby Digital or DTS soundtrack. The movie only contains dialog throughout so the soundtrack that is provided is adequate.

Extras
For a relatively unknown and low budget movie "The Last Broadcast" has an impressive amount of extras. On the disc are three behind the scenes featurettes. The first one is titles "Behind the Scenes Production" which explains how the movie was edited on a desktop computer. The directors go on to speak about why they chose the Jersey Devil and the storyline. They also mention that the actors chosen were varying in skills and some were family members and friends.  This featurette also explains how they met up with Jim Seward (plays James Suerd) in a video shop. This featurette is very interesting and runs at just over 7 minutes long.

The second featurette is called "Behind the Scenes / Post Production" and is 4 minutes long. This is a more detailed featurette which explains how autopsy photo’s used in the film were created on a home PC. Also the newspapers seen in the movie were also created this way. The directors also explain how the sound effects were created for the movie.

The final featurette is called "Behind the scenes Distribution". This featurette is probably the most interesting as it explains how the film actually came to the big screen. The director’s talk about the problems they came across trying to distribute a digital film.

Complementing the featurettes are some behind the scenes photos, which can be found under the "Behind the scenes Library" section.

Also provided on the disc is a short description of the Jersey Devil. This short film explains the history behind a devil child being born in 1735. Last but not least are the trailers. This disc has two trailers. The first one is a promotional trailer and then we are treated to the Theatrical and Television Trailer.

Overall
I was impressed by the quality of this DVD release. MetroDome are a company, which I have not come across so far in my DVD experiences but I have to admit to being impressed by the effort they have made with this disc.  Some of the big studios should take notice of the quality of this disc and feel ashamed for the lack of extras provided on some of their recent releases. "The Last Broadcast" is a very creepy and clever movie. If you liked the "Blair Witch Project" then you will probably like this film. Just one word of warning though – Don’t watch this movie alone…. I wish I hadn't!


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