Thursday, 16 November 2017

Found Footage 3D (2016)

Selling itself as the first 3D found footage horror movie, hence the title (another one of those titles that makes no sense if you end up, as I did, just settling down to watch the thing in 2D), Found Footage 3D is written and directed by Steven DeGennaro. While I am not overly familiar with Mr DeGennaro, I can tell you two things about him right now. First of all, he has been involved with audio work on an impressive number of shorts. Second, he thinks he is much smarter and accomplished than he actually is (cinematically speaking).

The premise of Found Footage 3D is very simple. A group of filmmakers set out to make a 3D found footage horror movie and quickly find themselves in the midst of their own spooky scenario, with a lot (okay, ALL) of the main “real” incidents being foreshadowed by the elements put in place during the plotting of the film.

This is all an excuse to get very meta, and get very meta is what it does. From the opening scenes, and then right through to the final moments. That would all be well and good if it was a) handled in a way that wasn’t as unsubtle as a sledgehammer to the temple, and b) presented in a way that didn’t feel completely patronising and derisive of the target audience. The worst thing that Found Footage 3D does is assume that lazy jump scares and a shoddy approach to the material are sins absolutely forgiven because they have been specifically acknowledged by the characters. That's not how it works. If we were enjoying a day out in a park, having a picnic or something (I don't know why, just go with it), and I made a joke about drowning a bag of cats then that wouldn't stop you from being a little bit pissed off, I would hope, if I later took a bag of cats and threw them into a river. That might seem like an extreme example, and it is, but the underlying principle is exactly the same. Making an observation or joke doesn't help to improve any direct example of that coming along in the near future. And JUST doing that isn't really being meta. It's being very lazy.

There are many specifics that I would like to get into, especially as the third act feels like the DeGennaro was going through a checklist of everything he had previously mentioned, but I won't spoil things for anyone else who may enjoy it more than I did.

Let me finish by running through the cast. Carter Roy is fun as Derek, the writer and money man who wants to control most of the film, Alena von Stroheim is all over the place as Amy (although she is not helped by the script), Chris O’Brien is Mark, the guy filming the "making of" that shows us everything happening, and Tom Saporito is the suffering director. Scott Allen Perry is the sound guy, Jessica Perrin is an assistant named Lily, and Scott Weinberg turns up for a couple of scenes in which he plays Scott Weinberg. A mixed selection of skill levels are on display, but nobody is helped by the general lameness (which I believe is the proper technical term to use in this critique) of the film that they are trying to make work.

Found Footage 3D is currently available on SHUDDER.

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