Another year, another found footage film.
Wait, scratch that. Another month, another found footage film. This is just getting ridiculous.
I was the biggest proponent of the found footage genre through everything. The Blair Witch Project is one of my personal favorite movies. I have a soft spot for Cloverfield and The Last Exorcism and I thought I would be the one fan to defend the genre until its inevitable burnout.
But I’m here to say the dead horse has been kicked, the fire has gone out, there is no more to gain from the genre and the form.
It’s a sad day. It’s not as if Devil’s Due is a particularly bad movie either. It certainly maintains a realism and some of the scares are covered in gore and fairly brutal, but it’s all so done to death and so unimaginative that the entire arc is telegraphed from the very beginning, especially if you’ve seen Rosemary’s Baby. I haven’t heard anything official on this being a remake but if it isn’t I don’t know if “homage” will be enough to cover them in court – whole plot points are ripped from the movie including the climax, and this just reinforces the whole feeling that we’ve been here and we’ve done this.
The only saving grace going into it was knowing that it was made by the production group called Radio Silence, one of the makers behind the V/H/S franchise, and I only wish some of that energy and recklessness transferred to this movie. It’s a good start, but they really need to look for some original material to sink their teeth into. The biggest and most obvious problem here is 15 minutes in, you know exactly where it’s going and there’s nothing fresh or twisted on the original stuff to keep you interested. It’s as by-the-numbers as you can get in horror, and boring horror is the worst kind of horror.
Radio Silence has some chops; they just need something better than this. The best part of the found footage genre is the “accidental compositions” and there are some really striking shots in this movie. One plot development leads to more ‘feeds’ to cut to throughout the movie and I admired that kind of thinking outside the box… if only it was done more concerning the script and plot. The two main characters were unfamiliar actors, which goes a long way to maintaining the realism that is so key in these types of movies, something that this one didn’t really have a problem with. The scares were decent and well planned and the gore got pretty intense towards the end. It’s not a bad movie for a night out with friends if there’s nothing else out…
…and you’ve got some beers to go along with that. What actors you don’t recognize turn out to be recognizable. Why in the hell would they think that was a good idea? Why would anyone want to put established stars in a found footage movie that’s supposed to be about random people? It’s never going to maintain the image of a random family if you have something else to connect their face to. YOU’RE the reason why this genre isn’t working anymore, Hollywood. NOT US.
Drink this beer right around the time you realize the enormity of the ripping off you’re seeing onscreen. I mean, they hit all the major nails on the head. They just left out all the boring character development, suspense building, dread inducing stuff that made Rosemary’s Baby so classic and put in a bunch of loud noises and blood. Like any smart plagiarist they… took out all the good stuff. Yes. Hollywood.
Just because I don’t want to take the chance of you walking out of this movie sober. What do cops actually do in movie world? Just sit around and get paid to blow off people’s cries for help with a “there’s no evidence to suggest someone would be in here, sir” while not seeing the dry wall dust that’s literally all over the place from the Satanists breaking in and drilling and being generally of no help whatsoever… oh, so just like real life, then? ZING.
If you’re a big horror buff, see it. If you’re in any way inebriated and with a bunch of friends, see it. If you’re anything less, pass, or go see Rosemary’s Baby. Life’s too short.
Take a Sip: whenever the couple should obviously not be doing what they’re doing.
Take a Sip: when it’s obvious the husband needs to stop filming and get his wife help.
Take a Sip: when any sane man would call the cops or get a gun.
Take a Sip: whenever you see an agent of Satan failing to blend in with his surroundings.
Do a Shot: whenever Hellfire appears on Earth.