The Life of Riley Venn (2012) – Movie Review

The Life of Riley Venn (2012) - Movie Review


It’s got to the point now where I shudder whenever I find I’m about to watch a low budget Found Footage from the ‘paranormal’ niche – I think it’s safe to say that this movie subject has been on a steady decline ever since the release of Paranormal Activity and Grave Encounters.

Well, to be fair, those two movies are pretty fucking banging and genre-bending, so it was always going to be a hard slog to improve on them.

But there’s no getting away from the fact that the paranormal niche is heavily saturated with extremely low budget shite that I wouldn’t even let my cat watch…and it’s getting worse by the day.

So, when I stumbled upon The Life of Riley Venn (also known as The Life of Riley Venn: Ghost Magnet), and I found out some of it’s background…I was less than impressed…and not particularly bowled over about having to watch it.

Turns out I jumped the gun a bit on this one, and whilst it’s not a classic…I definitely would let my cat watch it! 🙂

The Plot

Riley Venn is being chased by spirits. His family and friends think he is crazy and delusional. A documentary filmmaker is asked by his producer to go and investigate the validity of Riley’s claims. What the crew finds is a war of attrition between Riley and the spirits that torment him.


Yeah, after reading the movie bio, you can see why I wasn’t exactly excited about sitting through the film – sounds pretty run-of-the-mill really doesn’t it?

I did notice that the movie had an estimated budget of $50,000, which is quite a decent slice compared to other titles in this niche, but I still wasn’t convinced…

Turns out I was wrong.

This is definitely a lot better than about 70% of the paranormal titles available in the Found Footage genre at the moment. I may be a little generous with that percentage – but in my book it’s worth it (you may or may not agree!).

The movie goes to great pains to avoid 99.9% of the traditional Found Footage paranormal troupes, and is quite a unique and fresh offering – that alone warrants a half decent review in my book.

I’m also getting a bit of a ‘stickler’ for the overall cinematography level of these Found Footage movies. When I first started off this site I kinda liked the rough, raw and ready look of some of these cheaper DLSR cameras etc…

But that’s worn a bit thin with me these days.

Now I much prefer a slightly more polished finish to my movie experience (man, that makes me sound like a posh wanker!). I’m happy to report that this movie is pretty nice on the eye to watch, well planned out in this way and decently edited.

The acting is also pretty polished and they haven’t just ‘walked away’ from a scene thinking “That’ll do” – which again makes a nice change.

The biggest drawback, or downside to the movie and it’s plot is the conclusion to the story, but how often does that happen in good Found Footage films?

All too often – but as fans we can learn to live with that as long as the movie is a cool watch!

Overall this is worth watching, in my humble opinion, and I also found it quite unique. Anyway – watch it and see for yourself. If you don’t agree you can always throw shit at me in the comment section below! 🙂



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