The Objective, 2008 wartime supernatural horror

poster, DVD cover - The Objective, 2008 supernatural horror filmCountry: U.S.; filmed in Morocco
Horror themes: War, evil
Director: Daniel Myrick
Verdict: 60/100… Solid supernatural horror

I had eagerly anticipated The Objective for a couple of reasons. First, The Objective reminds me of Red Sands – another creepy supernatural horror film with a wartime setting in the Middle East. Also, The Objective was written and directed by Daniel Myrick, who made his debut in 1999 with the scary-as-hell breakthrough supernatural horror film The Blair Witch Project.

The Objective: Official movie trailer (YouTube)

Plot synopsis of The Objective
In Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, a Special Forces team meets CIA Agent Benjamin Keynes, who explains their mission to find a very important Afghan cleric by the name of Mohammad Aban. Led by team leader Wally Hamer, the team finds a local guide in a village in southern Afghanistan where the cleric is from. The team sets out for the mountainous area where intelligence reports indicate the cleric is hiding.

As the soldiers travel deeper into the desert mountains, they begin to have strange encounters – first with armed gunmen, who simply disappear after they are shot, and later with other seemingly supernatural forces. The further they go, the more dangerous the mission becomes; eventually, the team realizes they are not looking for someone, but something

horror movie still from The Objective, 2008 supernatural horror film Ben Keynes (Jonas Ball) is a CIA operative based in the Middle East who is keeping his eyes peeled for a potential crisis a few weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Keynes is checking some readings from a spy satellite when he discovers what appears to be a massive cache of radioactive material in the mountains of Afghanistan. Worried that Al Qaeda guerrillas are constructing a nuclear weapon, Keynes arranges to join a reconnaissance mission headed to Afghanistan, using the cover story that he’s trying to ferret out an international terrorist leader. Keynes and the soldiers head into the mountains with a local, Abdul (Chems-Eddine Zinoune), serving as both translator and guide. Abdul warns Keynes and the soldiers that their intended destination is considered sacred ground by Afghans, and that they’re risking their lives by trespassing. Keynes pays him little mind, but he and the soldiers soon discover that Abdul’s warnings were well founded, and that a supernatural force lurks in the mountains more dangerous than any band of terrorists.

The film’s title is apparently in reference to such high-level government missions, typically arranged by high-ranking officials and carried out by elite special forces. In this case, the ground operation is led by Benjamin Keens of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

— More to come… gotta go for now – it’s Christmas morning, after all! 🙂 —

More than one person has noted that the narrator’s voice sounds a bit like David Duchovny.

Aside: Movie setpieces

What is a setpiece in film production? Long ago, I assumed I knew what a setpiece was, in general – but eventually I read something about a horror setpiece that did not make sense to me which prompted me to look it up. I finally, belatedly learned that a setpiece has nothing to do with the physical items on a movie set.

In the universe of film production, a setpiece is a scene (or a series of scenes) which required detailed logistical planning and a significant expenditure of funds in order to carry out and pull off successfully.

The term setpiece is often used more broadly to describe any important dramatic, suspenseful, or frightful high point in a story, especially when a dramatic payoff, resolution, or transition is made possible through it. So, the term setpiece is often used to describe any scenes that are so essential to a film that the movie would not have been possible or made any sense had that setpiece been omitted. In standard Hollywood popcorn flicks, screenplays are often constructed around a succession of such setpieces.

Setpieces can be meticulously planned using storyboards, screen tests, and rehearsals; for the sake of comparison, the director and actors may be more improvisational in smaller or more artful productions. In the big films, every onscreen event requires the combined efforts of an array of departments working as a team: set builders, physical effects, special visual effects, and so on.

In the production of standard Hollywood movies, different sets of people will work on the various setpieces individually since the more complex setpieces can take weeks or months to prepare. A well-known example: the car chase in The Matrix Reloaded took months to prepare and cost $30 million – including $5 million to build the interstate/freeway set.
(Source: Wikipedia entry for setpiece)

One thing’s for sure: Whatever else Daniel Myrick may do, the words Blair Witch Project will forever remain attached to his name – which is not a bad thing.

Resources: The Objective, 2008 supernatural war horror film

Movie reviews of The Objective, 2008

  • Film Review: The Objective (2008) – Horror News
  • Life After That Very Profitable Fake Witch – New York Times
  • Discussion: The last horror movie you saw?
  • The Objective, 2008 horror movie – Tumblr links
  • Removed content
    A group of Special Ops reservists on a mission in the harsh and hostile terrain of Afghanistan find themselves lost in a Middle Eastern “Bermuda Triangle” of ancient evil.

    The Objective must have been a difficult film to categorize. I saw it listed as science fiction horror, survival horror, supernatural drama, etc.

    Forces in the front lines of the war on terror find themselves battling an unseen foe more deadly than a bomb in this supernatural film.

    Post started on Monday, June 13, 2011

    The Dead Outside, 2008 low-budget Scottish zombie flick

    movie poster - The Dead Outside, 2008 Scottish zombie horror movieCountry: U.K./Scotland
    Director: Kerry Anne Mullaney (
    Horror themes: zombie, low budget, outbreak, farm, remote, character study, virus

    Synopsis of The Dead Outside
    A neurological pandemic has consumed the Scottish countryside. Drug resistance has mutated the virus into a ravaging psychological plague, rendering the ‘the dying’ desperate, paranoid, and violent. Two survivors end up sharing an isolated farmhouse under desperate circumstances: April, a mysterious young girl who has survived alone for months; and Daniel, a desperate and bereaved man clinging desperately to hope. When a third person appears on the remote farm – a woman who seems to take to Daniel – they are confronted with a new enemy even deadlier than the one beyond the perimeter.

    movie stills - The Dead Outside, 2008 Scottish zombie horror movieMy thoughts about The Dead Outside
    Although not the most action-packed zombie movie, The Dead Outside is a well done low budget/ B affair. (Technically speaking, this is not a zombie movie, per se: the protagonists have not risen from death. It’s a viral infection.) The project really does work, but not everyone will enjoy it. The Dead Outside is definitely worth a watch for the true fan of zombie horror; I’d suggest that others learn a little more about this movie before diving in.

    The Dead Outside is more of a character study than most zombie-style flicks and does not follow a standard walking dead (or in this case, walking infected) horror movie plot.

    The Dead Outside is one of many movies that blurs the line – technically speaking – between zombie horror and virus/disease outbreak horror. From a technical standpoint, it is a virus outbreak and not a walking dead or resurrection situation. This is one area that adds some wrinkles to my efforts in horror movie & horror theme categorization. Other horror movies that blur the line between zombie horror and virus horror:

    The Dead Outside would be more accurately described as zombie-style horror (as opposed to Zombie horror). Perhaps I should change the Zombie horror category to Zombie-style horror, which would include two sub-categories of Undead and Virus/disease.

    Trying to create bullet-proof categories for supernatural horror movies has proven difficult.

    Resources: The Dead Outside (Zombie-style horror movie)

    Reviews of The Dead Outside (2008 U.K. horror)

    Should zombie horror movies be included in the realm of supernatural horror? That is, are zombies supernatural? Are zombie movies supernatural movies? (My answer, obviously, is Yes.)

    1. Answer one: Sort of. One could argue that the undead, or the walking dead, is a supernatural phenomenon. (I sure hope it is.)
    2. Answer two: Not really – especially when the culprit is actually a viral infection as opposed to the literal undead.
    3. Answer three: Hell no – and your blog sux!

    Dead Space: Downfall, 2008 animated horror

    movie poster - Dead Space: Downfall, 2008 animated horror movie

    Dead Space: Downfall is the animated prequel to the Electronic Arts (EA) survival horror video game of the same name. Dead Space has become quite a franchise, now including games, movies, and books.

    Synopsis of Dead Space: Downfall
    The USG Ishimura, a miner spaceship, is transporting a strange artifact called the Red Marker. In the Aegis VII colony, where the Red Marker was found, there are some suicides and murders and the people are slowly going mad. The people are being infected by something. Barrow, the foreman, finds the body of his wife having committed suicide. Barrow decides to escape the colony’s madness and, taking his wife’s body, goes on board the Ishimura. But something happens to Barrow’s wife on board the Ishimura.

    My comments about Dead Space: Downfall
    To a broad audience I would not recommend this animated sci-fi horror affair: most adults don’t want to spend their time watching animation, much less animated blood spatter, fantastically and rapidly mutating creatures, and so on. To a strictly horror audience I likewise would not recommend this flick. Actually, just don’t watch Dead Space: Downfall unless you are a fan of the video game it’s based on or a big-time animation aficionado. The animation is average, the plot is standard fare; nothing really stands out. There’s not much depth.

    If you’ve seen Dead Space: Downfall and enjoyed it to any extent, but you remain unaware of or unwilling to experiment with anime (animation from Japan), then you are really missing out. Frankly, I believe all movie lovers who appreciate and enjoy animation (it’s a smallish slice of the adult population) owe it to themselves to become familiar with some of the best anime.

    That old image of anime being only for young geeks is not only passe but patently false.

    The truth is, if you enjoy animation but you’re still unfamiliar with anime, then you have a whole world of entertainment just waiting to be discovered! I did not test the waters of anime until after age 40 – and then I fell head-over-heels for anime, virtually immersing myself into it for a couple of years. I found quite a few anime titles that adults can enjoy without feeling they’re watching kid stuff. At a minimum any sci-fi fan should see Ghost in the Shell. Boy, did I get sidetracked…

    Even though I did not praise Dead Space: Downfall, I am about to watch the sequel, Dead Space: Aftermath. I’m a fan of horror, sci-fi, and animation, and I’m a bit curious to see if this is a rare case of a superior follow-up. We shall see.

    movie screenshot - Dead Space: Downfall, 2008 animated horror movie


    Review of Dead Space: Downfall

    Laid to Rest (Unrated Director’s Cut), 2008 slasher flick

    Directed by Robert Hall
    Watched June 2009
    Studio: A terrifying story of a young girl who wakes up in a casket with a traumatic head injury and no memory of her identity. She quickly realizes she was abducted by a deranged serial murder and must survive the night and outsmart the technologically inclined killer who is hell bent on finishing what he started.