Okay, there seems to have been some sort of injection of Found Footage movies onto the internet over the last month or so, and I’ve been lucky enough to catch up on a large majority of them. Gonna try and get them up here as quickly as I can over the next few weeks (famous last words!).
I came across Char Man on a typical film streaming site, and I immediately knew it was a Found Footage film due to it’s cover…and the fact that it was a 2019 release and it was already on the internet (always a telling factor).
Anyway – I was right (cue the trumpets!).
But the movie had an incredibly shitty title – Char Man. Kinda sounds like the worst superhero ever…or an incredibly pants monster.
So I didn’t hold out much hope, at first, but I did grow into the film as I watched it…
Two friends visit fire-ravaged Ojai, California, intent on making a fake documentary about the infamous Ojai Vampire. However, things take a bizarre and frightening turn when they learn about a different local legend: The Char Man.
Okay I’ll level with you here – if there was any other sort of cast on this project…it REALLY wouldn’t have worked out that well…at all.
The movie isn’t great – the plot is kinda so-so and the general feel of it lacks anything unique or original for the genre.
But…the cast is set out really well and they do manage to bounce off each other effectively. The three characters have been given free range to act as natural and humorous as possible, and to be honest with you, it does work.
In fact, the interaction of the main characters is what drags this film out of the “Oh fuck not another one” zone and into the light – it becomes watchable because of these performances.
Obviously, the cast alone was never going to save this film, and it does have a handful of decent scenes to fall back on as a horror project.
But – this kind of plot has been used now many times before…which means that this film has nothing really new to offer.
The entities, when they finally appear, are nothing more than people dragged in off the street and told to wear dime store Halloween masks (seriously – that’s how they appear on-screen!).
The climax to the whole thing is pretty much standard Found Footage – it’s fast, jerky and full of visual interference. So they pretty much missed a trick there!
I just felt the whole thing could have been more memorable if they had taken a step back and said “No, no – let’s do something different this time”. If they had, and then coupled it with the humour and chemistry of the main characters – they would have been onto a winner.
Cinematography was about average for the genre, audio was shit in places (sunken and hollow), then booming in other scenes (way too loud all of a sudden). But these kind of mistakes usually make Found Footage more realistic.
Script was pretty decent, and the long humorous scenes were well held together and dare I say it – funny in places.
All in all I would say it’s a decent watch…but it could have been a lot better with a little more effort.