Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Evidence is proof that the found footage genre needs to get lost. I also talk about good found footage movies streaming, and the not-so-good, and how awesome is Radha Mitchell?

I Hated It
My wife and I have a thing for found footage movies. They are, for the most part, horrible. There are some that aren’t bad. I will always be a fan of the original, the one that started it all, The Blair Witch Project. Of course found footage movies were popular with the invention of the camcorder that any average person could buy and film movies on. The Blair Witch Project was the first to make it mainstream, but what it also did was utilize the internet as a way of marketing and keeping up the illusion of the whole movie being found footage. At the time there were some who believed it entirely because of the back story and reports that showed up on the internet claiming to be real.

I Really Liked It
            There are found footage movies that are not completely horrible, and I can think of only one that is pretty good. Barry Levinson’s The Bay is a movie that any person who is thinking of making a found footage film should watch. The Bay is paced perfectly, and that is something that is completely free and yet most people who make a found footage film act as though creating  steady pace within their movie is way too expensive and they’d rather spend it on the effects they’re gonna use for the last five minutes of the movie. The Bay may have more production value than littler films but that doesn’t really show, what shows more than anything is the acting and the story. I think the best thing one could say about The Bay is that when you hear that Barry Levinson is making a found footage film you are pretty certain his career is over, but when you see the movie you see that he’s still making good movies. Sure it’s not his best but it may not even be his worse either.

            The Paranormal Activity movies aren’t bad either. The first one was good, and though the rest have steadily declined in quality, they are still movies that my wife and I check out and enjoy watching how horrible the movies have become. We have started betting each other on when a body is going to be thrown at the camera. The main reason we continue to watch these movies is because – like The Bay – the camera is usually pretty steady and not all herky jerky all over the place.

I Didn't Like It
            The two Grave Encounters movies are about the average of found footage movies. They’re bad, but bearable, opting to let you get to know the irritating people who will be having the “grave encounters” for over an hour, and then giving you the “grave encounters” throughout the last few minutes of the movie. I am aware that the sarcasm did not come through so let me be clear that these movies are more than dull and then they end with something mildly interesting.

            It’s the really bad ones that are dull – spend too much time letting us get to know the characters – and then they end with something that is supposed to be a surprise? A cliffhanger? Who cares! If you’re going to show us over an hour’s worth of footage of these people, then something pretty concrete had better happen to them instead of leaving it all open. It’s such a waste of our time that it’s almost painful.

I Hated It
We anxiously checked out the V/H/S movies, which sucked, and then the sequel, which surprise! Sucked too; and that is a real testament to how horrible the stories are in the V/H/S movies because all found footage movies waste so much time trying to create characters that we should care about when the shit hits the fan, but we never do. The stories in the V/H/S movies are short and still we don’t give a crap about them. To be fair the V/H/S movies aren’t the worst because you can tell they got money, and some of the stories have moments that are interesting, but all together as a movie the stories are just not good and leave too much open. I like open endings if the ending is a fair ending to the rest of the movie, but when you have a movie that’s got tons of insane shit and then you end it without any sort of explanation – well, that’s just lazy.

            We even saw one found footage movie that was streaming at the time, and I can’t recall the name of the movie, but freaking Oliver Stone was in it. Seriously, and then I found out that his son made the movie! This is no shit, and it was horrible! It’s gems like that which make it totally worth our incessant viewing of any and all found footage movies.

            The found footage movie Evidence was interesting because it wasn’t the usual plot. This time it was the police searching through video evidence in the aftermath of one hell of a bad night that left many dead and a few barely surviving. So that was a good thing, and the cast was a good thing. The guy from True Blood and the mom from the Silent Hill movies. Okay, we got some stars here, so let’s check it out. The opening scene was interesting. The camera moving around the aftermath that is all frozen in time meant that they had some money to throw at this movie, and then once it starts going . . . well . . .

            Without giving too much away I’ll just say this movie sucked and you should not watch it. Trust me, the ending was completely stupid and unbelievable, but the whole movie was like that. Too much of the movie was watching the cops watch the found footage, which is worse than watching it yourself! And the True Blood guy spouts awesomely horrible technical jargon about enhancing, and zooming in, and cleaning up the video, and stuff that – whether it’s real or not – just came off as so fake that it was laughable, which is what my wife and I did during this movie – a lot.

No one puts Radha Mitchell in a movie this bad,
and if you do you atleast make her the freaking star!
            The people involved are so much better than a movie like this, seriously. Though I haven’t seen the True Blood guy in a movie or TV show that I’ve liked, I know the Silent Hill lady can act and can pick great movies (Radha Mitchell will always be cool to me because she was in Pitch Black and Henry Poole is Here – this movie, as bad as it was, did not have her in it enough for me to hate her), but this movie was a horrible waste of time. I can’t even think of a way for this movie to be good because it just doesn’t have a story. The Tue Blood guy has a history that is touched upon but has nothing to do with anything going on, nor does it really have anything do with the investigation, and the Silent Hill lady doesn’t even need to be in the movie which is a shame because she can be a good actress when she has the right direction.

            There are a number of found footage movies streaming on Netflix, and though they mostly all reside in the horror genre I’d suggest checking them out instead of this one. My wife and I were anxious to see a found footage movie that was not the usual horror movie, but this was bad enough that we really would rather have watched a bad horror found footage than a horrible mystery found footage.

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