Country: 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…
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
- The Objective, 2008 supernatural horror film
- The Objective, 2008 – Amazon, IMDb (Rating: 5.6), Wikipedia
- Official Movie Trailer for The Objective (2008)
- Tribeca Film Festival 2008: Daniel Myrick Interview re: The Objective
- The Objective and [other] post-9/11 horror movies set in Afghanistan – Forum discussion on
Movie reviews of The Objective, 2008
- Bloody Disgusting reviews The Objective (Rating: 2.5)
- Horror Movie a Day reviews The Objective
- Dread Central reviews The Objective
- Horror Asylum reviews The Objective (Rating: 2.9)
- Bloody Good Horror reviews The Objective
- Horror Reanimated reviews The Objective
- The Objective on Rotten Tomatoes (Rating: 36%)
- Scary Movies reviews The Objective
- Paste Magazine reviews The Objective (Rating: 6.8)
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