The Barbados Project (2022) Review

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The Barbados Project was shot by writer/director Stockton Miller in 2019 as The Trident – The Land We Call Home, a title that makes it sound like a documentary about the island nation rather than its first horror movie. Under that title, it had a brief release in its home country and quickly disappeared.

At some point after that Thomas Burke, director of several shorts, actor in films like Sleep No More and The Pizzagate Massacre as well as a found footage enthusiast, became involved. Existing footage was reworked and the digital effects were upgraded as well as some completely new footage shot. And that version is the one we’re reviewing.

The film begins with some nice touristy-looking footage of Barbados accompanied by some facts about the island before showing us some impressive-looking footage of a kaiju-sized creature wandering on a beach. The video quickly goes viral, but the Barbadian government claims it’s a hoax. It also catches the attention of news reporter Reesa Price (Cherah Belgrave) and her team who think there’s more to it than that. They soon find out that they’re in way deeper than they can imagine. And that the organization known as Building Six is keeping secrets that are beyond what they could have imagined.

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The Barbados Project runs a fast sixty minutes, forty-five minutes of which is devoted to the main story and fifteen is supporting footage found in an abandoned government facility, including a YouTube video from 2030 that’s every bit as annoying as the current crop of videos are. The film’s short length means there isn’t a lot of time for incidental shots. Since this is supposed to be unedited found footage that makes sense. It also means that the first several minutes of the film feels incredibly disjointed as it jumps from creature footage to the crew dealing with their bosses and back again with no context.

Once The Barbados Project becomes focused on the creatures and Building Six itself it becomes a lot more cohesive. The plot itself however goes off into X Files territory. Mysterious portals, mutations and time travel all come into play within the film’s short running time. There’s even an attempt to do a zero-budget Cloverfield hommage that manages a couple of good shots of the creature walking out of a raging fire.

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None of it really makes a lot of sense, but it moves fast enough and delivers enough in the way of creature footage to keep the viewer entertained. In that regard, The Barbados Project is the opposite of many found footage films that deliver ninety minutes of stumbling abound in the dark and thirty seconds, if that, of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be afraid of.

At the forty-five-minute mark, the film’s main plot comes to an end and the remaining footage consists of an attempt to reopen one of the portals, some footage of another of the creatures and, most amusingly footage from the future of an annoying YouTuber meeting a well-deserved fate. There’s nobody from the rest of the film involved, and I’m guessing this was shot by Burke in order to bring The Barbados Project up to feature-length.

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Overall, The Barbados Project is a surprisingly enjoyable film considering its low budget and Frankenstein origins. The biggest surprise may well be the quantity and quality of the creature effects. They are CGI, but it’s surprisingly well done and makes good use of darkness and other elements to help hide its limitations. A digital decapitation, while not exactly great, is better than I’ve seen in higher-profile films like Titanic 666.

The Barbados Project is currently available on the POV Horror streaming service. Its original Facebook page for The Trident – The Land We Call Home is still up if you’re curious. And if you’re looking for more fear, FilmTagger has some suggestions.

Our Score

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