As of June 2000, experts had documented two hundred twenty five haunted houses in the United States. Almost half can be found... in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Deep in the heart of the south, at the end of a long, dark ... more »road, stands a very old house... shrouded in mystery and veiled in secrets. When the door opens, you will be sent back by the stench of death. On dark stormy nights, you can hear a young girl screaming in the courtyard. You always heard the rumors, but you never knew if they were true. Now, four strangers will spend an entire night in that very house. What you will hear is true. What you will see is real. What you will feel is absolute terror.« less
A group of supposed "real people" are in fact portrayed by actors in this supposed documentary which revolves around a well-known, well-publicized but false tale. I saw the director's cut with commentary at a ghost convention and his comments included scenes that were shot and inserted after he left...including the casual discovery of an artifact supposedly overlooked for nearly 200 years. Not that the mansion isn't haunted, just that the perpetuated story of a slave girl who accidentally poisoned her master's children is untrue.
Deidra C. (Deidra670) from GARRETT, KY Reviewed on 12/26/2010...
THE ST. FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT combines the elements of TBWP, actual New Orleans history and an old-fashioned ghost story. Four strangers gather together to spend the night in a supposedly haunted house. The result is mixed. The four people are annoying, whiny and more than a bit chatty. In other words, typical, almost a slice of real life. Maybe that's why the last ten minutes of the movie are so shocking.
The main draw of THE ST. FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT for me was the historical backdrop of Madame LaLaurie legend. Madame LaLaurie was a upper class sadist who kept several slaves in her attic, torturing and maiming them for her own sick satisfaction. I've always found the Madame LaLaurie story fascinating and THE ST. FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT explores this aspect to the suspected haunted house.
So, THE ST. FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT is a mixed bag. I enjoyed it. Would I watch it again? Probably not. But it's a good way to pass the time on these long wintery nights.
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A lumbering pseudo documentary
Chris K. Wilson | Dallas, TX United States | 02/01/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"You have to love a good ghost story to enjoy "The St. Francisville Experiment," a rehash of the immensely popular "Blair Witch Project" which came out the year before in 1999. Both films are pseudo documentaries filmed by annoying youngsters who set out to crack the mystery of ominous old legends. In both cases, the kids start their respective expeditions confident and self-assured, hand-held cameras jerking about while they spout wisecracks at the nearest shadows. Eventually, the kids end up terrified, surrounded by supernatural forces they could never have imagined.
I consider "The Blair Witch Project" to be a modern-day horror classic, well acted and perfectly executed. It frightened me, and I enjoyed the fact that the monsters could never quite be seen. The filmmakers caught lightning in a bottle, and when they released its fiercely mediocre sequel a couple of years later, it was apparent the magic was gone.
There is some magic in "The St. Francisville Experiment," but it is still inferior to "The Blair Witch Project" in almost every way. The acting is forced, the locale at a supposed haunted house in Louisiana is only slightly eerie, and the conclusion is never believable. And yet there's a scene, when a ghostly specter makes an appearance, that will definitely give you the creeps. It's all fun, and perhaps the young at heart will get a kick out of this carnival ride.
Four kids, including a filmmaker, historian, psychic and the obligatory "team leader," decide to spend the night in a haunted house. Prior to the big bash, the history of the house is documented. Somehow, and none too convincingly, they connect the house's history with the infamous New Orleans' legend of Madame LaLaurie. An 1830s Creole socialite who lived in the French Quarter, her house supposedly burned down and discovered within was a torture chamber where she conducted hideous experiments on slaves. She fled New Orleans in the middle of the night and, according to this film, eventually holed up in the secluded St. Francisville home.
The Madame LaLaurie legend, the Grand Guignol of New Orleans ghost stories, has never been convincingly proven, though it has been recited for over 100 years. I actually enjoyed the fact that "The St. Francisville Experiment" attempted to connect its story with this most famous of urban legends. The tale is as creepy as the set-up for "The Blair Witch Project," and unlike the latter film, the legend is at least partially based on fact.
The kids arrive in the middle of the night, enter the house and begin exploring its interior. The house is certainly authentic, but it's apparent that at least someone arrives on a regular basis to dust and clean its interior. But never mind. Closets are explored, a seance is conducted and a chair flies across the attic - and it all works for the most part. My problem at this point is the growing fear of the actors. Their hyperventilating terror is never convincing and it is abundantly clear they are mimicking the very good performances from "The Blair Witch Project." Additional secrets are discovered, including hidden chambers, but I realized I could have just as well bought a ticket to a Halloween funhouse for the same scares.
The beauty of "The Blair Witch Project" was that during its frantic running time, there was never a moment of doubt. Certainly the documentary was fabricated, but it was always convincing. I was never convinced by "The St. Francisville Experiment." Had the filmmakers spent a bit more time with their idea, they could have struck a nerve. There is always something unsettling about an old abandoned house, similar to what was seen during the final moments of "The Blair Witch Project." But the house used in this film, even with its hidden chambers and old furniture, looks like a display at the local museum.
It took a great amount of skill and imagination to pull off "The Blair Witch Project." There were so many missteps that could have been taken. None were. "The St. Francisville Experiment" lumbers around and makes these very mistakes. We see chains falling, chairs flying and ghosts hovering within mirrors. I liked the ghost, but the film leaves little to the imagination, and thus its authenticity is compromised. For a low budget flick such as this, that is a mistake."
What were you looking for?
Garry Daniel | Knoxville, TN United States | 08/06/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've read some of the reviews of this film (good and bad) and I cannot believe the people who wrote the bad reviews actually thought it was supposed to be real. Did you really think the Blair Witch Project was real as well? These are MOVIES! If you accept BLAIR WITCH and ST. FRANCISVILLE for what their producers intended; Cheaply made, scripted movies pretending to be documentaries, then you'll begin to see the fun in them. And St. Francisville was a fun film. There were actually some very good (and frightful) moments. The chair flying across the room, for one. The people who are upset that B.W. and ST. Francisville are "obvious fakes" are probably confused as to why The Beatles allowed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to perform on one of their albums."
I gave this 3 stars because it is a special film...
missy elliot | CA USA | 04/16/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I gave this movie 3 stars. This all depends on what you are looking for in a movie. This movie is embarassingly horrible... it is a great laugh... it is a travesty caught on tape. But if you are in the video store looking for the worst movie ever made... THIS IS IT. The St. F Experiment is the WORST MOVIE EVER MADE! So rent it while expectations are at an all time low and have some fun. Trash does not always need to be taken out... James"
Not too shabby/ 3.5 stars
J. Knapp | Earth | 08/01/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"C'mon all you snobs out there! Where is your IMAGINATION? Of course this is a BWP ripoff...but so what? It was entertaining, and it had a couple moments that were so eerie, so creepy as to induce goosebumps. yes, the end is a bit of a letdown, but the initial chills were fun. If you can watch this little piece of atmosphere alone, in a dark room, without getting that feeling--you know...that cold dread of fear at the base of the spine...as it slowly moves upward, the hair on your arms stands up, the skin begins to crawl, the heart beats a bit harder, now there is definately a creeping,cold chill...like dead fingers brushing at the base of your skull washing over you and your no longer sure that you WANT to see whats in the attic, or in that closet...or what might be hidden, behind those old clothes, in that hole in the wall,--at least once...well, my friend, you are officially jaded. too bad for you!
This is a well done ghost/haunted house story. Lots of atmosphere and tension, could have used more subtlty for realism, but oh well. The ending is fun, albeit a tad cheezy, and a nice little capper for the story. For those of you who were angry at the BWP for not showing you the MONSTA (which i can't understand, by the way. GOD that movie scared the hell out of me!!!), well...don't blink or you'll miss it, cuz there is a gin-yu-wine RAH RAH MONSTA in this old house. Don't see this if you NEED for it all to be REAL (you know who you are)...it aint, but it has an "almost there" quality to it. See this if you want to watch a fun, genuinely freaky movie that delivers some real spoooooky chills.
All in all, nicely done. Could have taken a couple lessons in subtlty for full creep-out effect, but certainly could have been worse!"
ST. FRANCISVILLE "waste of my time" EXPERIMENT
danny | agoura, Ca | 07/04/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Let me say first that All in all, i felt scared once, when the movie wouldnt eject out of my VCR, (thank god for quick thinking and a bat ).The only reason i rented this cheeeesy movie was because my friend hyped me up about it saying , " the scariest movie i have ever seen! Better than the blair witch!" now i saw the blair witch w/this particular friend and i must say it freaked me out, so to hear him say this about the movie got me thinkin. If it was possible to get the time i wasted back after watching this movie, i would. The actors who are supposedly "real people" are fake and boring. The 4 characters are 1 physcic named Madison, 1 history major Ryan (girl), 1 team leader chicken Paul and 1 goofy cameraman Tim. While watching the first 15 min you get a feeling of the Blair witch w/ many interviews w/ local people and directors and what not. The house if supposedly haunted by a women in the 1800's who mutilated many of her salves. She then escaped a mob and then supposedly hid in the st. francisville house where she did even more gruesome acts. It sounded like a pretty intersting plot i must say. At the time the gang reaches the house you have about 55 minutes left. I couldnt understand what they could do for 55 min when the first 15 min felt like 1 hour. The group gets in, the only way out if the front door. the windows and the rest of the doors are locked tight. They make camp in the front living room. and start a HOUSE WARMING party. they pray to the house, " we come in peace, and are protected by the white light." If i ever hear a person say WHITE LIGHT again i might die. After this they go throught rooms where every closet has a sound, but only have cats jumpin out of them. FINALLY! in the last 10 minutes do they split up, go to different areas and start to get their butts whipped by a ghost."