Wednesday, 18 April 2012



I've had enough and I'm not doing it any more. I give up: I am electing from this day forth, for better or for worse, to reject any more found footage "films". Unless someone can provide me with a monumentally and unanswerably good reason why I shouldn't (and that's a reason on the scale of "the world will explode" or "the universe will be destroyed", I am abandoning this worthless and tiresome subgenre once and for all. I know I've got cross about these so-called films before but I really don't care: this latest piece of garbage has finally sealed the deal. I've already gone onto my rental queue and deleted whatever "found" abominations still remain.

Censorship? More like self-preservation. These self-proclaimed filmmakers have walloped me in the balls too often now with wretched apologies for movies that don't even have the production values of scat pornography, and which boast camerawork that looks like rejected footage from You've Been Framed. Howie Askins' tedious Evidence is just the latest example of a trend that has nothing left in its bag of tricks. Four obnoxious nonentities go camping in the woods, and eventually some big scary creatures turn up and start killing them. The lead guy claims, delusionally, that he's making a documentary about his equally tiresome best friend (frankly I wouldn't hire him to point at the sky, given his shoddy camera technique); their respective girlfriends tag along to make up the numbers and moan and bicker. After half an hour of badly shot home video footage of these imbeciles, one of them suddenly disappears, there are mysterious noises in the woods, words appear carved on the trees, and their RV is trashed....

The rest of the movie is all shot on the run, complete with footage of the ground when whoever's holding the camera hasn't switched it off. The survivors make it to some kind of ranch, but they're not alone: there are creatures which look like shaggy apes and soldiers firing guns and possibly zombies or something. If you bother to freeze-frame the DVD through the end credits you'll see scrolls of wobbly computer text about recombinant DNA and biological experimentation, but by that stage you may well be in need of painkillers because for the last fifteen minutes the camera is increasingly on the fritz, rendering everything into an incoherent frenzy of subliminal high-speed gibberish, mostly accompanied by loud gunfire and screaming. And then the bloody thing stops.

Evidence is merely the latest in a string of pseudo-reality bores that have creaked past me in recent years: there's The Devil Inside, Evil Things, Paranormal Activity and its two increasingly dull sequels, Apollo 18, The Troll Hunter, The Zombie Diaries and its sequel.... Granted, one or two of them have had effective moments: I certainly liked the two [Rec] movies enough, and Chronicle had a few nice touches. And to be fair to Evidence (certainly a lot fairer than it was to me) it did make me jump once. But that's not difficult. Tinky-Winky would make me jump if he snuck up behind me and suddenly yelled "Bang!" in my ear. None of them are up to The Blair Witch Project (which worked mainly, I think, because we hadn't really seen that sort of thing before) or Cannibal Holocaust (which crucially has a non-found context for the found material).

It may well be that "director" Howie Askins, "writer/star" Ryan McKay and everyone else have actually worked very hard and gone to a lot of frankly wasted effort to make a film that looks like it was shot by clueless idiots. You know who else makes films that look like they were shot by clueless idiots? Clueless idiots. Proper filmmakers usually try and make films that look like they were shot by proper filmmakers. Here's how rubbish Evidence is: the following day I watched Children Of The Corn 5 - not the original, not the remake, but the fifth entry in the franchise - and it's a thousand times the film Evidence is. Yes, it's pretty formulaic, it's predictable, it holds little in the way of surprise or innovation, but it is at the very least a proper film, and it's leagues ahead of Evidence. That said, for cinematic technique and halfway interesting narrative, the Cillit Bang adverts are leagues ahead of Evidence. This is not a film. It's barely a video. And it's an entirely and unremittingly abominable 75 minutes adding up to the worst thing I've seen so far this year. Never again.


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