Butterfly Kisses Gives New Hope to Found Footage Subgenre
written by Sam Kolesnik
Butterfly Kisses, written and directed by Erik Kristopher Myers, is a standout jewel of found footage horror. There’s almost nothing that makes me more hesitant to press ‘play’ on a horror film than seeing that it’s about found footage. Ever since The Blair Witch Project found major success, there have been dozens of lackluster found footage horror movies, most of which are easily forgettable. Fortunately, Butterfly Kisses is not one of them.
Myers distinguishes himself in the crowded found footage space by creating a film which is both loving and analytical of the genre. It’s an exceptional found footage film, but it goes the distance with humility and introspection.
The film follows multiple narratives, both revolving around the Blink Man urban legend. Legend has it that if you stand at the end of a particular tunnel in Ellicott City, Maryland and stare down its dark depths without blinking for an entire hour, the Blink Man will appear. Once he appears, the popular legend says that every time that person blinks, the Blink Man gets a little closer.
In Butterfly Kisses, Gavin York (played by Seth Adam Kallick) is a married filmmaker down on his luck who discovers disturbing footage from a student film project about the Blink Man. His world closes in on him as he researches the project’s mysterious origins and tries to make a successful film venture out of it.
Interwoven into the narrative about Gavin York is the story about the student filmmakers themselves, the student film’s director, Sophia Crane (Rachel Armiger) and her collaborator, Feldman (Reed DeLisle).
Throughout both narratives, but most especially when following Gavin York’s story, the film offers clever layers of commentary on filmmaking. Going meta can often feel silly in horror, but in Butterfly Kisses, it feels grounded. The characters’ filmmaking challenges raise thoughtful questions about ethics in art. It’s this type of smart writing that sets Butterfly Kisses apart from other found footage films.
As for the scares, Erik Kristopher Myers intelligently uses the legend of the Blink Man to great effect. There are a few scenes where I watched the screen bracingly -- taken by that great feeling when watching a horror movie of, ‘I know I should look away, but I can’t.’ Jump scares are used scarcely, the director instead opting for minimalistic and eerie shots. There are subtle and creepy visuals throughout which leave just enough to the imagination.
Watching Butterfly Kisses was the most fun I’ve had watching a found footage horror film in a long time and has given me new hope for the subgenre. Butterfly Kisses is distributed by Gravitas Ventures and is now available for rent or purchase on major streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime and iTunes.