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The Frankenstein Theory (2013) – Movie Review

The Frankenstein Theory (2013) - Movie Review

This was a bit of a slip up…

Considering how much I like this movie…I have no idea how I managed to forget to include it on this site!

I know, I know – it’s one of those love/hate Found Footage movies. I find that fans of the genre either love it, or despise it.

I happen to love it.

It’s been a (long) while since I originally watched it, so I sat through it again last night…and enjoyed every minute of it…

The Plot

When he is suspended from his university job for his outlandish ideas, Professor John Venkenheim leads a documentary film crew to the rim of the Arctic Circle in a desperate effort to vindicate his academic reputation. His theory: Mary Shelley’s ghastly story, “Frankenstein,” is, in fact, a work of non-fiction disguised as fantasy.

In the vast, frozen wilderness, Venkenheim and his team search for the legendary monster, a creature mired in mystery and drenched in blood. What they find is an unspeakable truth more terrifying than any fiction…a nightmare from which there is no waking.

The Long Way Round

I should first start off by pointing out that I understand why so many horror buffs did not enjoy this movie. Found Footage movies sit heavy with some horror fans due to the large portions of inactivity in the plot (what you and I would call the ‘build’ of the movie!).

The Frankenstein Theory is long-winded, a long and windy road of a plot with very little action…but that’s exactly the way this type of story should be!

In my personal opinion, I think the last ten minutes of this film contain some of the best Found Footage moments ever shot (yeah, that’s a pretty bold claim!).

I love the way the climax is suddenly thrown on you, and you go from clever character development and interaction…to full-on horror.

So I get it – I get why certain people don’t like this movie.

It’s not a ‘thrill-a-minute’ fright fest with jump scares and gore all over the place. It’s a much more reserved horror.

Conclusion

The key to this film is that the filmmaker (who was the brain behind The Last Exorcism) had a decent enough budget to put together a likeable cast. This meant that the movie easily pushed it’s way past those dull initial scenes.

I was also impressed by actor Kris Lemche’s portrayal of Jonathan Venkenhein. At first I thought that maybe he was a bit too small, clean cut, and young, to pull off a mad scientist role…

But I was wrong.

The more the movie unfolded the more he fit into this interesting character.

When I re-watched the movie last night I was also taken aback by the dread the final half an hour managed to inflict without the use of much blood. There are quick shots of a couple of dead bodies, and a handful of blood trails in the snow…

But that’s about it!

It’s a clever move, as in some countries would have no problem in rating this safe for the younger teenage generation to watch.

In my book, The Frankenstein Theory follows the Found Footage ‘recipe’ perfectly. The characters are great on screen (even humorous at times!), the danger escalates gradually, and then everyone disappears one by one.

It should really act as a sort of ‘reference book’ for new indie Found Footage directors (and fuck me – the majority of them need some help these days!).

I also recognize that it is a slow film, if you are not a Found Footage fan, and this is why it balances out as a love/hate experience among critics.

I love it though! 🙂

Chris

10 Comments

  1. Hi Chris, just had to weigh in as this is one of my all-time favorites too. I loved every second of it: The slow build, the arctic setting, and the ever-increasing sense of dread. Thanks for writing it up. Hopefully more people will give it a chance.

    • Hi Dave – thanks for chipping in with your opinion mate!
      Glad I’m not the only one out there that loves this movie 🙂

  2. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Frankenstein Theory myself and like you I understand that it’s definitely not for everybody. Lots of cleaver bits in it. One scene I admired was in the beginning when the lead female character is confronted by a very aggressive and big fella that screams at her to get out of her car. His intentions are very clear. He wants to hurt her physically. Shades of what is to come? The film crew add some fun as well being pretty funny throughout the film. Not to mention their travel leader who plays the Robert Shaw part very well. He even has a story that he tells that reminds one of the the famous “Indianapolis speech” except with Polar Bears rather than sharks. Yup. I love this movie but I remain hesitant to recommend it.

    • Yeah the film crew make the film for me – the actors suit the parts well and manage to get away with a good deal of humor. Cool movie this – glad you agree Howard
      (PS Yeah that early scene was pretty cool – I also liked the scene with the crackhead in the house!)

  3. Although not always the case, my taste of FF is very similar to yours Chris and since you liked this one I am certainly going to give it a shot. By the way have you ever seen “Dabbe: Cin Çarpmasi” (2013)? It is quite good and though not similar to the above film I recommend you watch it if you haven’t already as it is not on the site I believe…

    • Ahhh I have heard of that Corne – it’s Turkish isn’t it? (or am I way off the mark!)

  4. Have you checked out povhorror(dot)com yet? There’s a lot of hard to find FF films there. Might make it easier for you to find new films to review.

    • Hellll No!!! 🙂

      Those assholes over at the other website (I won’t mention their name here) have given me nothing but trouble since they started – I think they feel slightly threatened by me!

      Anyway – they own that streaming POV site and they do what they do best – take fan’s money.

      Cheers for the suggestion Tim, but I stay well out of their way whenever possible! 🙂

      (P.S. All of their movies end up on Putlocker a week after they’re released anyway – but don’t tell them I told you that!)

  5. I watched this in 2013 and I didn’t like it. Then decided to rewatch it after reading your review. It’s not as bad as I thought it was in 2013. Actually it’s a good FF because it creates its atmosphere slowly and finalizes itself very well. My first watch was a rushed attempt because I just looked for thrill and scary moments (I wanted something like Cloverfield) so I think that was the reason why I didn’t like this film. But in the 2nd watch, I focused on story and details and I enjoyed this film. For example, in the 1st watch I asked myself why the creature killed all character (even the professor) except the female one? But in the 2nd watch, the answer was clear. To be a good FF, there is no need to add plenty of brutal or scary scenes. Sometimes the less is better and The Frankenstein Theory is a good example of how to do it. Too bad people bashed it on IMDb like many other FFs there. Now I think rewatching my FF library is a good idea. I may missed some stuff.

    • Yeah I was pretty much the same when I watched it way back when – I thought it took too long to get to where it was going. Then I watched it again about a week later and sorta ‘got it’. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since…

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