Amber Alert (2012)

Director: Kerry Bellessa

Writers: Kerry Bellessa and Joshua Oram

Starring: Summer Bellessa, Chris Hill, and Jason Wade

Synopsis: A group of friends on a road trip spot a car that matches the description of an Amber Alert and decide to follow it; things go very wrong with their decision in this found footage movie.

Review: Have you ever thought you spotted a criminal or someone who the police were looking for? What if you followed that person and took matters into your own hands after getting nowhere with the police? And what if that person really is bad and you’re in danger? I have to say that this film pleasantly surprised me.

First of all, I tend to like movies that are somewhat realistic. For instance, people argue in real life, people have normal jobs and normal cars, people do stupid things, and well – you get the picture. The people in this movie do all of those things and it’s refreshing in my opinion.

After spotting the car, the group argues over what to do and what turns out to be a very bad decision was what made this movie different from a few of the others. In fact, the ending is one that I won’t soon forget so without spoilers, let’s just say that it’s not your usual ending that ensures that you can sleep well at night.

 It seems that a lot of people hated this movie and I’m not sure why. Sure, there were some bad decisions but you never know what you’ll do in a situation until you are actually in that situation.

Found Footage O Meter: I give this movie an 8 out of 10 for a number of reasons. It’s realistic, the people are very normal, and the ending is quite shocking.

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The Afflicted (2013)

Director: Derek Lee, Cliff Prowse

Writer: Derek Lee, Cliff Prowse

Actors: Derek Lee, Cliff Prowse

Synopsis: Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.

Review: Hand down one of the best found footage movies of 2014. This movie is what found footage is all about. Take two buds Derek and Cliff, who head off to see the world on a vacation I can only dream of. The movie maintains a steady pace. And I love the fact that Derek Lee and Cliff Prowse are good friends in real life. It made them so believable, and you found yourself rooting for them.

Basically off in a land far away these buds are out looking for fun. I mean who wouldn’t if you could just jet set across the globe. Fun comes in the form of a hot brunette for Derek Lee. The brunette was more than any of them could have ever expected. After that encounter it is a whirl wind edge of your seat ride. Derek Lee begins an unexplainable transformation that he, and his buddy document on film.

The is one of  the best solid plots in a found footage movie I have witnessed. I am not left guessing at anything for the most part. The two main characters are well-developed, and definitely well acted. It is actually fun watching this thing get so out of control. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Made on a shoe string budget kudos to these guys.

 

Found Footage O Meter: 8/10 for me on this one. It was just so well done. It is in my top 5 possibly top 3 of found footage this year. It is definitely in my top 10 of all time found footage.

The Possession Of Michael King (2014)

Director: David Jung

Writer: David Jung

Starring: Shane Johnson, Ella Anderson, and Cara Pifko

 Synopsis: After the death of his wife, a man who doesn’t believe in God or Satan decides to make a documentary where he is the subject. He attempts to prove that none of it exists by allowing various spells to be cast and occult practitioners to perform rituals on him. Of course, evil indeed exists and manifests itself in Michael King.

 Review: I had high hopes for this movie after hearing that a few others had really enjoyed it. I have to say that the beginning started off promising but about midpoint through the movie, I lost interest.

 Michael King (Shane Johnson) is a married man, seemingly happy. We see video footage of him and his wife during happier times – heck, he even has a daughter and a dog. Of course, you know what that means for the dog but more on that later. After his wife is killed and by the way, the movie never does really address her death; we simply know that she died, Michael decides to prove there is no God and there is no devil. He pretty much blames the tarot card reader for his wife’s death and by the way, there is one good aspect of the movie – Dale Dickey (love her) plays the tarot card reader.

 Michael starts his documentary by visiting a variety of people to help prove his theory. He takes part in a few occult rituals and along the way he eventually does become possessed.

 One issue with the movie is that all of the fake scares are super loud and unnecessary. The acting is fine and I do have to commend everyone on that but I honestly got bored after a while. Add into that the fact that of course the dog has to die and well, I was done with it. It wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t great, and while many enjoyed it, I didn’t so much.

 

Found Footage O Meter: I give this one a 5/10 on the found footage horror scale. I admit it is one of the better ones of 2014. But it was lacking something. I am not sure what. The Taking of Deborah Logan was much better. And why must movies always kill animals. I mean is it really necessary to the plot.

The Taking OF Deborah Logan (2014)

Director: Adam Robitel

Writer: Gavin Heffernan, Adam Robitel

 Starring: Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, and Mitchell Ang

 Synopsis: The daughter of a woman with Alzheimer’s allows a film crew to document her mother’s descent into dementia. However, things are not what they seem and Deborah Logan may have more than just Alzheimer’s.

 

Review: This movie is a little different than your usual found footage or even possession movies. I’d almost say it’s a breath of fresh air except I found it good, not great as some have coined it.

 Trying to help pay the medical bills of her mother, a woman allows a film crew to document her mother’s decline due to Alzheimer’s Disease. However, things start escalating into something that isn’t just due to the disease at all and that’s where the possession or occult aspect comes in.

 I found the acting pretty decent, especially with Anne Ramsay, who plays Deborah Logan’s daughter. There are quite a few creepy moments and one that is especially shocking so that in itself gives the movie some extra points. I didn’t care for the open-ended ending with the little girl (not a spoiler, by the way) and while I enjoy some endings like that, this one was just “okay” to me.

 I do like that the movie took a different approach to the usual possession theme. We have an elderly woman instead of your usual teen girl, the atmosphere was decent, and like I said, the acting was pretty good as well. I don’t know why I didn’t love it more but then again, it is probably one that I’ll watch again and that may change my review to an even higher score.

 

Found Footage O Meter: I give this one a solid 6/10 and that may change with another viewing. I dare say one of the best found footage movies of 2014.

The Devil’s Due 2014

Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Writer: Lindsay Devlin

 Starring: Allison Miller, Zach Gilford, and Sam Anderson

 

Synopsis: After their honeymoon in another country, a couple finds out she is pregnant. Mysterious things start happening, which leads to the question of, “What is the baby and who wants it?”

 Review: This was a found footage movie that I enjoyed more than most people. It starts with the main couple on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. On their last night, their taxi driver takes them to a party and this is where everything starts. Of course, they don’t remember what happened at all and head home to start their lives as a new couple.

 Samantha quickly finds out that she is pregnant even after taking precautions and of course, weird things start happening. For instance, she starts eating raw meat (Rosemary’s Baby, anyone?) and attacks a guy at the mall who almost runs into her. That was one of the parts that I really enjoyed the most. She doesn’t just attack him, she busts the windows out in his SUV with her bare hands. Hey, carrying the devil’s baby makes you more than just hormonal.

 Of course things start to escalate. People keep watching the house, Samantha keeps acting even stranger, and the ending is pretty cool in my opinion. Like many other movies, this one keeps things open for a sequel but like The Den, it allows closure to the movie if there isn’t another made. And judging from the reviews from others, there probably won’t be.

 However, I’m in the minority and liked it a lot. I loved the vacation scenes, I really enjoyed her weird pregnancy, and I didn’t find the ending contrived or cliched that much at all.

 

Found Footage O Meter: This may not be a solid 10 or even close to that on the scale but I did find it interesting and would watch it again so it gets a strong 6/10 or a weak 7/10. If you liked this one check out Delivery another found footage similar to this one. I thought it was maybe even hair better than this one. Review on that one coming soon.

The Den (2013)

Director: Zachary Donohue

Writers: Zachary Donohue and Lauren Thompson

Starring: Melanie Papalia, David Schlachtenhaufen, and Adam Shapiro

 

Synopsis: A young graduate student (Melanie Papalia) attempts to study the online activity of random people in order to get grant money for her graduate thesis in Social Media Studies. She witnesses what seems to be a real murder and gets caught up in trying to find the killer when her own loved ones start disappearing.

Review: First of all, I loved this movie and it is most likely because the story seemed more realistic and the ending was pretty awesome. If you’ve ever played on Chatroulette or any of the other video chat services, then you’ll recognize some of the familiar scenes that the main character, Elizabeth witnesses the first few days of her studies.

Elizabeth starts out with the usual silly online presences – the guys who want to show off their privates, the pranks that are supposed to surprise and scare you, and foreigners wanting to make new friends. Things start out with her being filmed while making love to her boyfriend and having that video sent to various people, including the ones who decide if she gets a grant or not. Along the way, she makes friends with one girl who never shows up on video and when she eventually does, it’s her death that Elizabeth sees.

The police don’t believe her and it’s her best friend that she turns to in order to get help. Once he and her boyfriend disappear, Elizabeth goes out on her own to try to find them and this is where things get really interesting. Her sister is targeted and things go from bad to worse for her really quickly.

Without giving anything away, the ending reminded me of Hostel somewhat and that was really refreshing. It left the door open for a sequel while still allowing the original movie to end with closure should a sequel not be made.

 

Found Footage O Meter: I’d give this movie a solid 8/10 for an original look at what many of us are familiar with – online video chatting. There are some really intense and violent scenes if you’re into that but they don’t overwhelm the plot or seem gratuitous in any way.

 

 

 

Willow Creek (2013)

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Starring: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson

Synopsis: A couple goes into the woods looking for Bigfoot. You can imagine what happens next.

Review: I am trying to think of exactly what I wanted to say about this movie. It started off as a slow burner, and then slowly gained momentum. And it kept building and building, and well it was kinda of a let down. It was shot very similar to the Blair Witch Project. But it just fell flat.

You follow Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) and Jim (Bryce Johnson) a couple headed off to the wood in search of Bigfoot. They follow the trail by retracing the steps of Robert Patterson and Bob Gimlin took to Willow Creek. It was there Patterson and Gimlin recorded Bigfoot. Now I admit I liked the characters. I loved how Jim was just stoked about finding Big Foot. And Kelly was his polar opposite Kelly is a total skeptic….like to the core skeptic.

So you have a 77 minute movie the first part is the driving to get to the destination. The second part is the interviews. And I actually did like the interviews they seemed authentic. Things start getting hairy when they go into the woods. There is lots of night action where they are in the tent and there is lots of rustling, and weirdness going on. And I was at one point on the edge of my seat. And I was so excited to get to the end, but when I did. I regretted. It was like someone let all the air out of my balloon. So much build up for what something I couldn’t even get a good look at it. I found that was more than a little disappointing.

 

Found Footage O Meter: 5/10

While I didn’t hate it I didn’t love it. What was most memorable to me was why Kelly didn’t get the job for the Summer’s Eve douche commercial. When she said Hail to the V I wanted to go out buy some right then. This was supposed to be about Big Foot but I kept think why did Kelly not get that part…lol. When you watch the movie you will know exactly what I am talking about.

I felt the movie had a good premises, and great build up only be a let down at the end. I will add this I like it better than most of the Big Foot found footage movies I have seen thus far.