Evidence (2011) Review

Many would argue that found footage is merely a craze, and once it dies down, some will be glad.  However, with our access to digital cameras, and fascination with conspiracies (even in-movie conspiracies that you know beforehand are fake) I don’t think it’s something that will die down so quick.  People said the same thing in the early 90’s about slasher films, and then Scream tore out of nowhere and turned the slasher genre on its head.  Since, it has become a past time of horror films to do that very thing, with movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Hatchet, and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon gaining cult followings and critical acclaim, it’s proof that any genre will never stay dead forever.  The reason I bring all this up is because I do enjoy found footage movie, more than most people probably do.  I’ve even made a short found footage film just for fun it’s an interesting exercise in the art of moviemaking.  After Evidence, I don’t know what there really is to say about the genre.  It subverts everything you thought you knew about slow found footage movies with a shocking ending.  Evidence is shock after shock, leaving your head spinning, and a final credits sequence that will add to your questions.

Ryan (Ryan McCoy) and Brett (Brett Rosenberg) are going camping, and Ryan is intent on making a documentary of Brett’s first time camping.  Brett is a somewhat reluctant camper, pointing out everything that could go wrong in a wind and nod to the audience.  They pick up Abi (Abigail Richie) and Ashley (Ashley Bracken) and head out to the mountains in a borrowed RV.  When strange things start happening, they blame the rambunctious and pigheaded Ryan for playing a ruse on them, until things only keep getting weirder.  At this point, a lot of people are still thinking that this movie is a Blair Witch Project rip-off, and I wouldn’t call them wrong up to this point.  However, the winks and nods to found footage as a genre lead to some wild subversion of the format, turning into an all out insanity by the films’ end.

There is really not much to say about what happens, as it has to be seen to be believed, and people that think they can guess as to what the movie is really about from the trailer are dead fucking wrong.  Evidence is a shotgun blast of blood, guts, chases, creatures, conspiracies, and creepy locations, as well as an interesting spin on the “final girl” theory as applied by Leslie Vernon.  While the first half of the film may be indicative of many found footage movies that came before it, the final act is so insane that you’ll never be impressed by another found footage movie after it.  Special F/X are goopy and quick, Scott Dawson handles the practical gore, and quick CGI add-ons are blended seamlessly as the movie powers forward.

The final sequences play out like a first person shooter video game, putting the 3 minute sequence in Doom to shame, all on a budget that could barely buy you a used Honda from a few years ago.  The editing is well hidden, although some might get annoyed by the flickering camera light and recording errors that hide the edits.  It all works, and information flies at you so fast that as soon as you comprehend what’s happening on screen, something new is thrown at you.  There has been much debate about the creatures, and it’s not so important what they are as where they come from is.  Definitely the best found footage film I’ve ever seen, and it will take a hell of a lot to top it.

Right now, I’m still unclear on the U.S. release of Evidence, but the good folks at Showbox Films are releasing the DVD in Region 2 (UK) format, which you can pick up on Amazon.co.uk fairly cheap if you don’t want to wait for the U.S. release.  For those in London, you may be able to find the movie on certain shelves already, otherwise it will be everywhere March 12th.  (Hint: Amazon will convert your money for you and they often ship pre-street date to arrive day of)


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