starring George Calil, Wali Razaqi
screenplay by Christian Johnston & Christian Van Gregg
directed by Christian Johnston
by Walter Chaw Exactly the kind of exploitative garbage that fellow post-9/11er The Guys was, September Tapes recasts The Blair Witch Project as a hunt for Osama Bin Laden in the wilderness of Afghanistan. It's this sort of film that takes collective tragedy and renders it something several degrees south of inconsequential, boiling horror down to soups and bones. The film is a vile, thick reduction, making a 9/11 victim's last cries the catalyst for a dimwitted first-person shooter with an unsympathetic protagonist and such stunning--and stunningly unsubstantiated--claims as, "America's not serious about tracking down Bin Laden." Maybe so, maybe not, but September Tapes isn't about politics, it's about bad filmmakers armed with a bad idea teaching an audience they imagine is less-informed than they are a lesson in seeking vengeance like a man. It's the "let's roll" school of Yankee machismo, the "bring it on" theory of diplomacy and warfare, and when the flick turns into the nightmare revisionist cartoon of Rambo, that susurration you hear isn't tension, it's resignation and maybe disgust. 9/11 has to be more than an excuse to make bad action/adventure flicks or (like The Guys) self-pitying chamber dramas.