I’ve never got my head around the reason this film didn’t receive a more positive reaction when it was first released. So much so I decided to delay the review until I watched the picture a second time a few nights ago. It seems to have divided the reactions of many people out there but I’m unsure why – it’s good, it’s very good!
Start as You Mean to go on!
The way Found Footage movies start usually indicate to me what quality level I am in store for. If the acting is cheesy and the first few scenes lack any engagement then I know I’m in for a long ninety minutes. However, if the characters are instantly likable and manage to grab my attention then I know the film holds a little ‘hope’.
The first scene of this film provided me with a couple of very competent actors that had a great connection between them (on screen!). An African American guy and a blonde girl were bouncing off each other on a car journey and the whole thing seemed well thought out and pretty humorous – it was natural!
There were three members of this initial journey – the camera guy, the blonde girl (with a sort of Irish accent!) and a quiet, thoughtful guy that seemed to be the boss. The three were well cast – they fit well together and I was happy to follow their exploits throughout the remainder of the film……..
A Team of Parapsychologists………
So it’s not the most original of ideas in horror circles but it does work well when done correctly! We have a team of parapsychologists that are called to an apartment to figure out what is behind some strange goings on.
Now I half expected to be sitting around for the first half an hour as I watched the team set up and do various interviews with the apartments inhabitants (I’ve been watching far to many of these films haven’t I?). I was wrong – as soon as the team was introduced to the dysfunctional family members we were off. I was immediately surrounded by the sounds of banging within the walls and ceilings of the apartment.
It wasn’t cheesy either – the sounds made me jump at first and immediately added a sense of dread to the whole situation! All this was happening within the first ten minutes of the film – nice!
The Head of The Family
What really managed to carry the film through for me was the father of the family. They had managed to sign up a good, solid actor and the emotions he displayed were really believable. Through most of the film he was dealing with a young teenage daughter who seemed to hate his guts. The despair and lack of energy he showed when dealing with her was very believable.
The Paranormal Activity Builds….
The activity in the film manages to build at a steady and effective rate. We go from the phone ringing with no one on the other end to the door bell being pressed and the dog barking at the walls in record time – it all seems to happen at once and gives you very little time to think!
It’s not that long before the ‘blind picture shots’ reveal a shadowy female character in the apartment. This is taken a step further when they use a strobe light effect around the living room with the lights off (I won’t spoil it for you by going into detail!).
I liked the way the team members explained the theory behind the equipment they were using when asked. Not once in the film did they seem rude or out of line with the family members – it gave the film a very adult feel!
The Professor in Charge
I sort of had mixed feelings about the professor in charge of the team of parapsychologists. He started out as quite a miserable and somber character and seemed to stick in this mold until near the end of the film.
All of a sudden he changed into a hard and heartless man but it did seem to be for a reason (again I won’t be hitting any spoiler alerts here!).
To me he seemed a little to calm within scenes in the film – if I saw a man being thrown ten feet through the air by a strange force I would be a little unnerved. But not this guy – he seemed to have a rational explanation and view on everything!
But after saying all that I have to admit the acting was top quality throughout the film – it made it stand out further than a lot of other Found Footage efforts.
The film was good – regardless of some of the poor reviews it seemed to receive online! I sometimes feel a lot of these reviewers don’t really ‘get’ the Found Footage genre or horror in general.
They miss the point and the point is usually atmosphere!
You do not need a budget in the millions to make this kind of thing work. If you pay for some decent actors they can help create an atmosphere and you are instantly in with a chance!
I did think the film finished rather suddenly but again – that’s nothing new in this genre! I didn’t feel like they had managed to explain the going’s on and the professor seemed to be pleased with the lack of results (or lack of answers!).
But please don’t let this put you off – you read through this page to find out what this film was like and I am here to tell you it is worth your time! Good acting backed up by some freaky scenes and a frightening story line. The film looks good and does not try to throw paranormal fluff at you – it is gritty and it works!