Evidence (2013)

 

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Writer: John Swetnam

Actors: Stephen Moyer, Radha Mitchell, Torrey DeVitto

Synopsis: A detective hunts down a killer using video footage shot by the victims of a massacre at an abandoned gas station. (IMDB)

Review: While, I was curious about this movie because Of Stephen Moyer and Radha Mitchell. I wasn’t like all crazy nuts about watching. So, I kept putting it off. I was bored af one night with me and Netflix and thought what the heck. It is moments like these found footage movie lovers wait for. When the credits roll and you are sitting there like WTF!

It held my attention. You watch cops piece together what happened at an old abandoned gas station when people just start dying left and right. And all they have to go on is some footage found at the scene. I don’t usually like to admit this but my mind was more than a little blown at the end.

I would love to gush on about this movie but if I do I will end up giving it all away. So you should check it out. It is still streaming on Netflix as far as I know.

Note, if you liked The Fourth Kind this could be something that interests you because it is done by the same director.

Found Footage O Meter: 7.5, I don’t always get these types of pleasant surprises when it comes to found footage but this one was pretty darn good. The twist will leave you like…what just happened.

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The St. Francisville Experiment (2000)

Director: Ted Nicolaou

Actors: Madison Charap, Troy Taylor, Ryan Larson

Synopsis: A group of young people were given video cameras and the opportunity to spend the night in an abandoned mansion in St. Francisville, LA. It is rumored to be haunted.

Review: I have watched this movie many times. It came out about 1 year after The Blair Witch.  I was ecstatic because I wanted to see more movies shot in the style of The Blair Witch Project. The movie went straight to DVD which is not surprising I am sure it was a shoe string budget they were working with, and this was before the found footage craze. Though at times it could be very cheesy, I really enjoyed this movie. I am in the minority on this one. I think because a lot of people thought some camera angles were shot by cameramen which is  true but come on it is a movie don’t read so much into it.

I loved the true history they share of Madam Delphine Lalaurie which some may recognize that name from American Horror Story Coven. It was one of Madam Lalaurie’s houses they were investigating. The movie is set in Louisiana which is already filled with ghosts and history. Plus, Louisiana is my most favorite place ever. I think the historical part of the story kind of outweighed the annoying characters. Yes, sometimes the characters could be very annoying especially the two girls Madison and Ryan. I liked this movie a lot and think it is very underrated. FYI..this movie is currently free to watch with Amazon Prime.

 

Found Footage O Meter: 7/10 I enjoyed The St. Francisville Experiment. I liked the history behind the movie and I love the fact it was shot in Louisiana. Any movie shot in Louisiana instantly gets extra points from me.

The Gallows (2015)

 

Director: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing

Writer: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing

Actor: Reese Mishler, Ryan Shoos, Pfeifer Brown

Synopsis: 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone. (IMDB)

Review: 

I was so stoked for this movie. I knew the reviews were mixed more bad than good, but I never take reviews completely to heart or I will end up never watching anything. This one I don’t even know where to begin. It starts with an accident that happened 20 years ago during a small town school play. And today the school is trying to honor it, but things go awry of course. Frankly, I am not sure why someone would want to honor something so horrible. But nonetheless, I loved the idea and concept behind it.  But the movie just went in a direction that didn’t keep me interested mostly because the actors and actresses were just plain annoying. I didn’t  find one likable character nor one with any redeeming qualities. There was lots of yelling, screaming and bickering which most found footage movies are known for that. But this movie took it to whole new level. I found myself rooting for people to die so they would shut the hell up. I think in this instance the reviews ring true. I have been trying to talk myself into a second watch but haven’t mustered up the nerve to do so.

Found Footage O Meter: I can’t believe I allowed myself to get overly excited enough to buy this movie. What a huge disappointment. Not only a  waste of money but a waste of time. I give this 2 out of 10 and it is only getting that because I liked the concept or idea behind the story. Watch at your own risk.

The Sacrament (2013)

Director: Ti West

Writer: Ti West

Actors: AJ Bowen, Jo Swanberg, Kentucker Audley

Synopsis: A news team trails a man as he travels to an undisclosed location to find his missing sister. Upon entering “Eden Parish” and meeting the community’s leader, it becomes clear to the newcomers that this paradise might not be what it seems.

Review: 

The Sacrament which I found to be one of Ti West’s better films in my opinion. Starts out in typical Ti West fashion a very slow burn. Vice a new team follows one of their own into an undisclosed location in order to find his sister who ran off with a cult leader who goes by the name Father. Under the surface, Eden Parish looks like a utopian society but in actuality it is anything but. It is a basic retelling of the Jonestown Massacre.

I really enjoyed the movie It is shot more documentary style so the camera doesn’t shake all over the place. That doesn’t bother me, but I know it is bothersome to some people. I also loved that most of the cast from this movie was in You’re Next (not found footage, but very good). You will recognize AJ Bowen, Jo Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Sharni Vinson. They all make appearances in both movies. And Ti West even plays a small role in You’re Next. I think this cast works well together. I know most will already know how the story ends because the movie is on actual events. Don’t let that keep you from watching it. Ti West does job.

Found Footage O Meter: Honestly, I think this is my very favorite Ti West movie. I give this movie an 8/10.

Contracted

Director: Eric England

Writer: Eric England

Actors: Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams, and Alice McDonald.

Synopsis: After a night at a party and a one-night stand with a stranger, a young girl thinks she has contracted a sexually transmitted disease. However, it’s something quite different that affects her life and the lives of everyone around her.

Review: Some people may find this movie somewhat mundane or boring but to be honest, I found it refreshing. Samantha (Najarra Townsend) is a 20-something who works at a restaurant and raises prize-winning Orchids in her spare time. She has a complicated relationship with a girlfriend as well as one with her own mother. Apparently, Samantha had substance abuse issues in the past.

While attending a party, she meets a young man who she ends up having sex with. There are a lot of different views on if he raped her or not because during their tryst in the backseat of a car, she repeatedly tells him to stop, yet he doesn’t.

Within a couple of days she is showing symptoms that are strange like a really weird rash on her body, a lot of bleeding, hair loss, etc. Things start to escalate and her mother thinks she is on drugs again.

The last few minutes are really intense with Samantha acting out against her girlfriend, another woman who seems to want a relationship, and a guy who she sleeps with. The final few seconds are pretty awesome as well.

Found Footage O Meter: This is going to be a slow burn type of movie for most. I found it intriguing however because it took normal people that have normal jobs and made a story that is both unique and interesting. I give this a solid 8/10 for its story, execution, and acting.

 

Undocumented (2010)

Director: Chris Peckover

Writers: Chris Peckover and Joe Peterson

 Stars: Scott Mechlowicz, Alona Tal, and Yancey Arias. Peter Stormare also makes an appearance but is masked throughout the movie.

 Synopsis: A small group of documentary filmmakers chronicle the trials and inequities faced by Mexican illegal immigrants. When they join a group of families illegally crossing the border to record the experience firsthand, their truck is pulled over and detained. What happens next plunges their group into unimaginable horror.

Review: While this is a horror film, it is something that could actually happen. I have to preface this by saying that it is extremely hard to watch. I don’t mean that it’s over the top gory or bloody and while there is blood and gore, it’s hard to watch because of how the people are treated.

Some documentary filmmakers decide to film some illegal immigrants crossing the border and get caught up in the middle of some very disgusting border enforcers who have their own idea of how to deal with the immigration issue.

While it was difficult to watch due to the human factor, this was an excellent movie that had all the elements that made it a winner. You rooted for the good guys and hated the bad guys or at least I did. I guess if you hate illegals then perhaps you might like the bad guys but I found them disgusting and despicable. With that said, this movie is quite shocking to watch and it won’t leave a good taste in your mouth but it’s one of the better found footage movies out there. It was well done and well-acted.

 Found Footage O Meter: This found footage movie gets a 9 out of 10 on the found footage meter. For one thing, it’s harsh yet realistic and hard to watch but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Megan Is Missing (2011)

Director: Michael Goi

 Writer: Michael Goi

 Stars: Amber Perkins, Rachael Quinn, and Dean Waite

 Synopsis: A loosely based fictional account of two teenage girls who meet an online predator and one becomes missing.

 Review: This is one of the most disturbing found footage movies I’ve ever seen. It starts out normal enough – even a little pedestrian but as the movie continues, it becomes something quite distressful and horrifying.

Megan and Amy are best friends. One is popular and the other isn’t but both enjoy each others company. They chat online, meet guys on the Internet, go to parties, drink, and engage in questionable activity for a 13 and 14-year-old. However, once Megan meets Josh online and starts chatting with him, things escalate quickly. Josh is supposedly a 17-year-old surfer who likes Megan but after she goes missing, Amy tries to find her.

This movie has a few brief moments of Megan and what happens but these images become ingrained in your head and you can never un-see what you’d seen. After Amy finds Josh, things go from bad to worse and you won’t be able to forget this movie no matter how hard you try. Let’s just say that you won’t necessarily want to pause on those brief scenes just so you can get a better look – take my word for it. I didn’t find it gratuitous either – just shocking and horrifying on a whole new level.

Found Footage O Meter: Like many of my favorite found footage movies, this one starts out pretty normal, if not mundane. However, it’s the ending or near ending that really raises the stakes and makes this something that would normally be a 4/10 movie into a solid 8/10.