When two rival crews head into the desert to shoot a reality show based on a buried Navajo treasure, they discover that truth is not only stranger than fiction, it's more dangerous. Something wants them from digging deeper and from escaping the desert alive.
"The Before Time" begins with a news report detailing a gruesome murder scene in which the decapitated bodies of a group of fortune hunters had been found on Native American land, near the Californian border. It is here we learn if what will become one of the films subplots, namely the animosity between two beautiful female news anchors, when one muscles in on the others shot.
Then we jump to a production meeting(this is one of the problems with found footage films, they just "jump" around from one scene to another) where we find an executive point out that among the bodies, a single gold coin is found, that’s got more than a passing resemblance to some legendary Navajo gold. Naturally, this stereotypically sleazy executive Daniel(Ted Jonas) decides this story is an ideal vehicle for a reality show. But not content with with putting his crew in danger, he decides to hire another and pit them against each other. Enter the two rivals i mentioned earlier, named Kimberley (Jules Hartley-What Happens in Vegas) and Cate (Danielle Baker). With their crews in tow, they head out in search of the Native American treasure(which never ends well)!
The Before Time is a pretty paint by numbers found footage movie, and while it isn't all bad i felt it was guilty of a horror movies biggest crime, as for the most part, it was plain boring. It may just be the fact that this sort of film has been made to death, and if you have seen one found footage film, then you will be able to guess where this film is going. Most scenes feel limp and just don't flow together very well.
The acting is, mostly anyway, wooden and uninspiring. The characters just don't feel authentic, with next to no character development. It doesn't help that there is no visible chemistry between any of the cast. Maybe the film would have been better if they had focused on developing the characters rather than try limp attempts at satire. Also, the "spooky" Natives, are about as scary and unsettling as new born baby!
Its all a shame, as there are a few clever ideas here, and towards the end especially, there are one or two genuinely unsettling moments. The thick atmosphere that has built in the final act is complemented by some solid jump scares. Unfortunately, it isn't enough to save the film.
While found footage films have the advantage that they are relatively cheap and easy to make, the sheer number of them means that the have to have something special to stand out, which the Before Time doesn't. The long periods where nothing even remotely interesting happens and lack of character development mean that I would probably give this one a miss.