Well it’s yet another step back in time for me as I cover a film I first watched about two years ago…then, in typical fashion, completely forgot about!
It was only when I reviewed Unfriended the other day that a light bulb moment hit me and I realized I’d watched a similar film many moons ago.
The problem with running this site is that I try my best to watch every Found Footage effort out there – no matter what it’s budget. After I watch a film I quickly scribble down a few review pointers and then put the sheet of paper somewhere I’ll never find it!
As most of you will already know – there’s no real timeline to the reviews I post here. If a film is in my head I’ll review it and post it – a simple recipe.
Anyway I’m starting to ramble a bit here, let’s get into the film itself…
LA-based grad student Elizabeth Benton ( Melanie Papalia ) manages to get her hands on a grant for her thesis – she is pretty pleased about this fact!
The thesis is based upon a social study of the interactions on an online social community aptly named The Den ( we all know where this is going don’t we? ).
She goes about completely immersing herself in the social platform and recording every ‘encounter’ she has with every freak out there.
One night Elizabeth comes across a member without a webcam named Pyagrl*16. Apparently she’s knackered her camera and is only able to converse through the medium of text.
As the ( text ) conversation progresses the PC screen suddenly cuts to a young girl being brutally beaten and then murdered ( and I mean BRUTALLY! ).
Well things really start to hit the shit for Elizabeth from this point onward but I don’t really want to give the game away – I HATE spoilers as much as the next person.
When I think about it, certain Found Footage films manage to create a realism that is absolutely terrifying. This film and Megan is Missing seemed to tap into that realism without really trying – it worked and worked well in both cases.
Unfriended had a strong supernatural element to it, but this sort of thing could theoretically happen – it gave off a real sense of vulnerability that was pretty hard to shake.
Watched it twice now and loved it – don’t care what the dickheads at Roger Ebert or Metacritic say ( poor, lazy reviewers on both sites that have no real concept of what horror is or why it even works! ).
I felt I was easily able to place myself in the role of the on-screen victim ( Elizabeth in this case ) and bask in her feeling of helplessness.
It’s not too slow and it’s not too fast – the build is constructed carefully and executed perfectly.
The cinematography, much like Unfriended, was really clever and the cyber-element didn’t really put me off once.
Towards the last half of the film there were numerous tense moments with shots that didn’t feel far-fetched or overly convenient. The few gore scenes are portrayed with a masterstroke of realism and worked well on the big screen.
When I think about it, there’s no real downside to this film, it worked on just about every level.
Definitely recommend this one to any Found Footage freak.