UK Release date: 1st February 2012
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 9th March 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
In the year or so since release I had forgotten that this was a film of the ‘found footage’ variety. Now, I’m not against this style of filmmaking, but I feel it’s now starting to become a little cliché to say the least. I mean, how many contrivances are used to get the footage in this film on the screen? Exactly how many people have to be walking around filming every detail of their lives in order for this to work? As far as this film is concerned I have to ask the question; why go down that route? It would have been much batter to just film this as a regular movie; it’s not like the ‘found footage’ style gives it any more edge! But enough of my ramblings; here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts on what made it to the screen.
Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a bit of a loner. He lives with his sick mother, Karen (Bo Petersen) and abusive father, Richard (Michael Kelly). He has a lift to school every day from his older cousin, Matt Garetty (Alex Russell). Oh, and by the way, Andrew has decided to film his life and so we get to see just about everything from his perspective. One day Matt invites him to a rave out at an old abandoned building in the wilds outside Seattle. Having been verbally abused by some asshole inside he’s collecting his thoughts outside when a really popular guy, Steve Montgomery, (Michael B. Jordan) comes up to him telling him they need his camera. It seems Steve and Matt have found a mysterious hole in the floor of a ravine nearby. They climb down and find… I guess I’ll omit that part (spoilers). Needless to say they soon discover they are developing superpowers. The thing is; are they mature enough to use these new-found powers responsibly; or will the pressures of every-day life get the better of one or more of them? And this is where I’ll leave you hanging.
The majority of the action is seen from the point of view of the Andrew character and I found this quite limiting. Yes, there are sections where his cousin Matt takes over and Matt’s girlfriend Casey Letter (Ashley Hinshaw) also has some camera time, but I found it all a little one-dimensional. As far as performances go, well everyone did a pretty good job with Alex Russell just about standing out for me. Although I found the contrivances used to get this ‘found footage’ style film up on the screen a big distraction it did have a one good thing in its favour. I did like the special effects when things are kept up close and personal. As soon as it became much bigger as in the big fight scene at the end; I’m afraid it all got a little too ‘Transformers’ for me. Over all, I found little likeable about any of the characters; particularly Andrew (although he does have a fine name); and this was enough to put me off. After all, if you can’t identify with the characters then the filmmakers have lost half the battle. I was hoping for some great redemption towards the end but it never came.
SteelMonster’s verdict: NOT RECOMMENDED
My score: 5.2/10.
IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 117,244 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 69/100: (Based on 31 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 72/100 (based on 99,055 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Andrew Detmer: [to Steve] See, it's different, 'cause you've always had friends, and people want to talk to you and be around you. I never had any of that. I mean, before this, I barely even hung out with Matt, and he's my cousin. We were close when were little, but- I don't know. In high school, everything changed.
Andrew Detmer: Please believe me, Steve. Please, it's just I-I don't know what I did. I lost control, and I'm so sorry. This thing, it's just becoming a part of me now and I don't...
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
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