Back in November 2015, I was contacted by a director named Allen Kellogg about his Found Footage release 7 Nights of Darkness. Not expecting much, I gave it a go…and quite enjoyed it overall.
Fast forward to about a fortnight ago, and I stumbled across the sequel to his original picture – The Devil’s Toybox (or Out of the Shadows – depending on where you are watching the film!).
I had no idea this movie was coming out and Mr. Kellogg did not contact me about it this time (tut tut!), so I had no real idea what to expect.
Still, I was quite stoked I had found it…
Cynthia O’Neil enters a haunted asylum known as the Madison Seminary in search of her father who went missing in the asylum while shooting a reality television show (her father was one of the characters/contestants from the original film…in case you hadn’t guessed!).
Multiple Camera Feeds
I often find that indie-level Found Footage films opt to try out as many different camera sources (or camera feeds) as possible – this doesn’t always work, in fact this can make a film quite messy and a chore to follow.
Kellogg seems to have conquered the problems multiple camera feeds can bring to a movie – and that’s quite a feat really, when you think about the amount of films that have not.
The good editing allows the film to move seamlessly to and from groups of characters, but at the same time disorientating the audience in an intelligent way.
This impressive ‘flow’ of the movie is down to one thing – good writing.
Kellogg has obviously sat down and put a lot of effort into the direction of the movie, and has not just thrown a bag of scenes together in hope.
The movie as a whole works because of this.
The ONLY thing I could really find wrong with this film was the level of acting at times – some of the characters were really quite excellent…whilst others seemed to be acting inside a brown paper bag!
But this kind of thing happens in 99% of indie Found Footage offerings – and I can certainly live with it if the movie’s plot and pace work well together (which they did in this case).
The story line works well for the most part but I couldn’t help but feel that Cynthia’s character was left a little bit out in the cold towards the climax of the movie, and I don’t know whether this was done on purpose or not?
The film starts out honing in on her quest to find her father but that main plot line takes a back seat. There are a lot of characters in this film – maybe their screen time ate into Cynthia’s main plot idea?
Anyway, that’s all pretty negative – and this was certainly not a negative experience.
As I touched on above, the editing along with the multiple camera setups was really well done. On top of this – I felt as though Kellogg had put together enough new ideas to make this sequel worthwhile.
Good pace, some good actors/some not so good, intelligent enough directing and well thought out cinematography.
The paranormal Found Footage niche is certainly overcrowded, but Kellogg has twice proven that he can hold his own with this type of picture.