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Film / The Last Broadcast

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The Last Broadcast is a 1998 horror film, directed and written by Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler.

The film is presented as documentary about the crew of a public-access cable TV show, Fact or Fiction, who went into the woods in rural New Jersey to search for The Jersey Devil, and all but one of whom are killed. While the surviving crew member - Jim Suerd - was convicted for the murder, the film sets out to prove his innocence.

The film is notable for predating The Blair Witch Project for heavy use of found footage in a horror movie setting, for being made on a budget of only $900 using 90s home computer technology and for almost every character being The Danza.


Tropes featured in this movie:

  • Apocalyptic Log: The footage shot by the Fact or Fiction crew includes their deaths.
  • Documentary of Lies: The footage that was shown to the prosecutors to convict Suerd is implied to have been subject to Manipulative Editing to make him look guilty. The whole film itself turns out to be one as well, and the entire documentary genre is accused of this by extension.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Especially on the urging of an untraceable IRC message.
  • Downer Ending: It seems that Suerd's innocence is proven (though posthumously), but the real culprit of the Jersey Devil murders roams free still.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: It looks like the point of the Mockumentary is to prove Suerd's innocence, but really the real killer just couldn't take his perfect murders being put down as the work of a random psycho.
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  • Enhance Button: Deconstructed, as it takes a data retrieval expert hundreds of hours to piece together the final frame of heavily damaged film revealing the killer to be the Mockumentary's narrator, David Leigh.
  • Everybody Dies: Before David Leigh started working on his documentary, Jim Suerd, the sole member of the Fact or Fiction crew to make it back from the trip, died under mysterious circumstances in prison.
  • Found Footage Films: The Fact or Fiction crews last recordings feature heavily.
  • The Jersey Devil: Serves as the motivation for the trip into the woods.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Machine Monotone: The suggestions that Fact or Fiction received through IRC were played in the show through a program that voiced them in a monotonous manner. The show's technical director Branski comments that he always found the voice creepy.
  • Manipulative Editing: probably one of the most impressive examples.
  • Mockumentary: A deadly serious example.
  • Narrator All Along: You know the identity of the narrator from the very first scene. What you don't know, however, is that he is the murderer in the documentary he's showing us.
  • Never Found the Body: The body of Fact or Fiction host Steven Avkast is never found, only blood and his hat.
  • New Media Are Evil: Debated within the movie, with the more sympathetic characters coming out against it.
  • Red Herring: The Jersey Devil itself never shows up in the film. It's talked about a lot, and the gruesome end of the crew seems to indicate the possibility that some kind of monster is responsible, but The Reveal shows that killer indeed was human.
  • The Reveal: Documentary's narrator David Leigh in fact knew the killer's identity from the start: it's him.
  • Show Within a Show: Fact or Fiction, whose dwindling viewership has led to the search of the Jersey Devil.
  • Title Drop: Done by the narration when the footage reaches the moment when Avkast and co. start broadcasting their show from Pine Barrens.
    Leigh: At 10 PM, in what will be the last broadcast, Fact or Fiction goes live.
  • Twist Ending: When the film reaches the point where Michelle is supposed to reveal the identity of the killer, there's a sudden shift from documentary to traditional film-making to reveal David Leigh as the culprit, and showing him covering his tracks by killing Michelle.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Not only the narrator as a person - the whole genre of documentary is shown to be prone to manipulation and thus unreliable. Even discussed in the movie itself (see New Media Are Evil).

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