Only Low Budget Horror Movies Get Major Releases; Other Genres Can Go Screw

I never thought about it until I saw the trailer for Unfriended (AKA Offline, AKA Cybernatural), but I can’t recall a super low-budget indie flick getting a major release that wasn’t a horror movie.  Is it just me?  What does that mean?  I have a thought… 

Now when I’m talking super low-budget, I’m talking under fifty grand.  I haven’t been able to find out how much Unfriended cost, but Paranormal Activity was budgeted at $15,000 and The Blair Witch Project was at $22,500, and it probably got that high because it was shot on film and not digital.

For the life of me, I can’t remember a comedy, drama or another genre movie on a similar scale getting a major release.  I’m sure it has, but I just don’t know what flick that could be.

Maybe horror movies on the cheap are effective because these movies with the stark, found footage effect lends realism to that which is clearly fantasy.  Perhaps studios figure that once they found something that worked (The Blair Witch Project), why not try to cash in again?  It’s the model of the franchise concept, but then, most franchise movies (Captain America, The Hunger Gamescost hundreds of millions of dollars – these movies cost less than most cars.  The combined budget of these three movies is probably not enough cash to feed everyone who worked on the new Avengers movie.

But maybe it’s not the realism that makes found footage movies attractive to studios; maybe it’s just a simple matter of the movie being cheap and they feel like the audience won’t know the difference.  Film is a visual art form and sometimes, an ugly image can be effective, but Paranormal Activity is grainy as hell.  (The image generally looks like crap.)  Unfriended looks like they actually filmed it using Skype…  Universal wants me to shell out $12 bucks for that?

As a filmmaker, you do whatever you can to get your movie made.  You do your best to tell your story with the tools (and money) at your disposal.  I can’t imagine you expect your work to end up in a multiplex (I sure don’t) and maybe we shouldn’t treat it that way.

I just get the feeling that buying movies like these three is a better deal for the studios than giving Marlon Wayans $24 million to make another A Haunted House movie.  But it’s probably not a better deal for the audience.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on January 20, 2015, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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