I had a vivid nightmare last night where every horror film that was released for the remainder of 2014 was a found footage movie. Then I woke up, checked out today’s stash and first up is the very thing. I did dream it right? Surely we’re not stuck in this apocalyptic situation? How about a found footage movie where people film themselves watching found footage movies only to be broken by the endless inanity of them and ultimately commit suicide? I’m rambling… but today’s FF exercise is provided to us by Olatunde Osunsanmi who directed the quite decent The Fourth Kind back in 2009, and features two notable actors in the shape of Moyer (True Blood) and Mitchell (Silent Hill).
We begin in Kidwell, Nevada where we are reminded that in law enforcement circles, forensic video evidence is known as the Unblinking Eye, helping to assist in solving thousands of cases each year. At a press conference Detective Burquez (Mitchell) is explaining the current situation following a massacre at an abandoned gas station. Back at police HQ is Detective Reese (Moyer) who seems to have had a period away following a burnout, but after confronting Burquez – “you need me, you know what I can do!”, he finds himself at the centre of the case.
The key clue to discovering what happened appears to lie in a tape / video diary belonging to a group of young and attractive people who seem to have fortuitously documented their journey to where the crime took place. All that the detectives need to do now is take a seat and hit play, whilst occasionally pressing pause for the sole purpose of explaining what just happened to layfolk such as ourselves – oh, and to adjust the tracking too.
My problem with Evidence is that I feel the two separate scenarios aren’t really blended together as effectively as they could be. At times it almost feels like two separate movies running concurrently, from the polished crisp scenes at police headquarters to the grainy, jerky found footage sequences. There are moments when you think that someone has shot a found footage movie but realised it made little sense, so decided to go and shoot the Moyer and Mitchell scenes to somehow make it a little more coherent.
The characters in the found footage section are poorly fleshed out which brings about little empathy as you witness them being blowtorched by a lunatic. Although similarly the police back at HQ don’t fare much better in terms of depth or interest. All of this leaves the viewer feeling relatively cold towards those on screen, something that soon descends into boredom and a general lethargy towards the production. It’s a bit of a shame really as considering the pedigree of the director as well as the calibre of the actors involved – you’d expect something better. If this was a $100k budget indie then perhaps there would be room for a little leniency, but Evidence is far from that so the only justifiable response is disappointment.