Directed by: Howie Askins
Horror/Found Footage, 2011
Joachim over at Rubbermonsterfetiscshism gave me a movie just before Christmas and said that I had to watch it because it was really cool. That’s what I really like about having mates who are into genre too, because despite the fact that you all watch the same stuff, there are films that fall between the chairs, and that’s where your mates (and you when you find them) pick them up! So going on Jocke’s recommendation, I put Evidence on for a late night chill, and boy was he right. This is a really cool flick indeed.
Evidence is a mindtripy, scary, tension builder, slotted right into the found footage slot. Starting out as most of these films in this niche does, a bunch of mates take off on a weekend trip to “rough it out” and do some camping. One of them, Ryan [Ryan McCoy] has an apparent camera fetish and plans to document his mate Brett [Brett Rosenberg] and their girlfriends Abi [Abigail Riche] and Ashley [Ashley Bracken] during their adventure in the woods… so far so good, and it’s al playing by the book. Lacking of introductions – as they are all friends already – subjective camera, shaky shots of the casts backs as they walk forth into wherever. Yes it keeps this up to the extent that it’s almost tedious, and predictable.
The first night introduces an antagonist of sorts after Ryan tries to scare his friends under documentation with an alien mask and gorilla suit. As they laugh his crap prank off, they hear a strange guttural hissing noise as they sit around the campfire. Dismissing it as a coyote they shake it off and call it a night. The next day they spot something strange moving about in a ravine, something that oddly looks reminiscent of the gorilla suit Ryan was wearing the previous night.
This is where the movie starts getting interesting, as there’s a possibility that Ryan with his documentation fixation may well be playing a sick prank on his mates. Evidence draws the audience in and for quite some time I was sat waiting for Ryan’s wind-up to be exposed. But it doesn’t and the movie shifts into some really dark territory when Ryan finds a bloody stumpy foot still in the shoe just off the forest path! (That’s the spoiler-free version)
There’s no way to talk about his film without spoiling it for audiences that haven’t seen it, so I’ll leave it with a strong suggestion to check it out, have an open mind and take the trip – it’s one hell of a jaw dropping, shocking and effectively scary film. You may think you know found footage, but you certainly haven’t seen anything like Evidence.
Two common paths are available when dabbling in Found Footage. One is to present a goal – such as in Blair Witch Project, to document the Blair Witch, or Cannibal Holocaust to find the Alan Yates missing film crew, or even Paranormal Activity 2, 3, 4 – you’ve seen the first; you know what to expect from the rest, a build up to a death climax with shitty “Oh let’s tape the ghost!", "No Don’t!", "Ok I won’t. (but I will.)” dialogue. The other is to slowly build to the obligatory what the fuck moment. There you have Cloverfield, Sevé Schelenz Skew etc. keeping the audience in the dark posing questions and making us think. There’s a slight risk with the wtf scenario, the explanatory silliness of telling us what the fuck exactly was. Bad mistake. Plenty have fallen face down into that pitfall. Evidence totally avoids the explanations, it grabs you with an effective wtf moment, and before you can even catch your breath it starts hurling wtf scenes at you in rapid precession. Really, you have hardly sat your ass down after the last startling surprise before the next one hits, and it keeps on like that all the way through. This makes for a fascinatingly tense, hectic and thrilling ride.
Acting is all right, dialogue is sticky at times but works, characters are believable, although as in most cases of found footage, we never really get to know them (REC being one of the few exceptions) so it basically is a survival horror where I’m waiting for cast to die. What works in favour of evidence though is the way they shift focus person, main protagonist if you will. Being a group protagonist to start with, the shift in character behind the camera also gives a shift in whom we are rooting for. Then again, when the shit hits the fan you will be wanting the characters to stay alive as long as possible so that you can get an explanation of just what the hell is happening.
With an inspiration undoubtedly taken from Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, REC and most likely, several other found footage flicks, Evidence pushes the boundaries far beyond its contemporaries in the niche. Unique in its niche, this is an unpredictable mind-blowing freak fest that will shake you up bad! (And makes V/H/S look like Tellytubbies!)
Check out Rubbermonsterfetischism for more recommendations, informative, smart and to the fucking point reviews by Jocke now.