Twists in the wind
Further (ahem) evidence that there’s still life in found-footage flicks.
THE glut of “found footage” horror films in the last few years may have led people to think that the end is nigh for the genre as there must surely be a limit to the stories and angles that can be exploredin the format.
But trust the low-budget indies to keep coming up with interesting, and sometimes even exciting, new variations on it every few months or so, as we can see from films like Afflicted
‘I really wish the idiots who lose all this found footage would use a freaking image stabiliser for once.’ and Ti West’s quite glorious The Sacrament.
Evidence, the latest film from Olatunde Osunsanmi (who last directed The Fourth Kind, another piece of found-footage nonsense), can at the very least claim to have brought another innovation to the genre by answering one question that has no doubt been asked inwardly by many: “What if we combine a boring detective story with a fun found-footage slasher film?”
That’s exactly how the ingredients come together because the film starts out as a straightforward detective yarn, with the police combing a very grisly crime scene. There’s even some shockingly bad acting by Radha Mitchell ( Pitch Black, Melinda And Melinda) as Detective Burquez and scarcely better acting by True Blood’s Stephen Moyer as Detective Reese.
Thank heavens all that badness doesn’t last very long as we’re immediately thrust into the film’s main angle – the detectives have to sift through footage from cameras and smartphones found at the scene of a massacre to make sense of what actually happened and who might be responsible.
If the characters in the “bor- ing detective story” are kind of laughably bad, then prepare yourself for even more bouts of the giggles once you meet the “found-footage slasher film” bunch. including white trash weirdo Katrina (Dale Dickey), who has a military duffel bag stuffed with cash. As is the norm in any slasher film, they never make it to Las Vegas and are instead stranded at some sort of service station somewhere in the middle of the desert, with no mobile phone reception (of course), and a killer on the loose.
And it’s from here on out that the real fun begins as scriptwriter John Swetnam plants multiple red herrings and the seeds of misdirection, literally bringing to life the phrase “everyone is a suspect”. I challenge you to not snigger at the sheer goofiness of it all as the detectives suddenly find themselves faced with: a bus driver with a rap sheet; the abovementioned weirdo who happens to have a bag full of cash; the comically angry boyfriend whose marriage proposal was rejected; and of course the guy whose cash is in that bag, revealed to be a war veteran with post traumatic stress disorder. And what’s up with aspiring actress Leann and her “documentarian” Rachel? Are they just friends, or are they lovers?
When you combine all the possible motives with a masked killer wielding a welding torch as his/her weapon of choice, you know there’s a lot of fun ahead in both the guessing and gore stakes.
I’ll let you discover the movie’s big M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist for yourself, which more or less saves it and makes even the “boring cop film” element come to wonderful life towards the end, just for the kicks you’ll get seeing how everyone’s been taken for a ride all this time. Whatever its flaws or gaps in logic may be, this is one very watchable little flick.