Newest Review: ... filmed. It basically views like a home-made documentary, and all the filming is through video cameras, or security cameras, or news crew ... more
Member Name: Mephit
Advantages: Superpower movie
Disadvantages: sometimes predictable
*** Film Only Review ***
*** Storyline ***
Unappealing teenaged dweeb Andrew (Dane DeHaan) lives a miserable life, both at home with a violent father (Michael Kelly) and dying mother (Bo Peterson), and at high school where he's a social leper that even his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) pretends not to be with. In an attempt to gain some distance from this soul-destroying subsistence, he starts chronicling his days with a video camera. Which doesn't help him fit in...
When Matt and his friend Steve (Michael B Jordan) find something weird underground in the woods, they rope in Andrew to video their discovery.
What could go wrong when you're creeping around in tunnels, half-drunk, investigating freaky objects? Of course, as they muck about with the unknown, the strange gets stranger and scarier...
Having survived, the next thing they know is that the threesome have developed the ability of telekinesis.
What will the three youths do with such a power? The possibilities are a prankster's dream. More than that, could it possibly help Andrew turn his life around?
*** My view ***
The film is shot primarily from the viewpoint of Andrew, at first as if with a hand-held camera, later with a little more distance as he is able to make it hover. It definitely keeps the conceit of it being a personal video account, with various breaks and gaps, and Andrew visibly setting the camera down or adjusting it as necessary. Later in the film, some of the shots are supposedly from incidental cameras, such as security ones or phone cameras. It's quite gritty and realistic in feel.
The three main characters are played effectively, although I didn't feel emotionally connected to any. It's a bit unfortunate that Andrew is so very unprepossessing that even knowing his horrible background, it's hard to sympathise with him as a character. Perhaps I ought to have felt sorry for him, but I couldn't get there. The film doesn't go for a black and white morality: the violent father played by Michael Kelly is shown to be struggling financially and emotionally with his wife's terminal illness, stretched to the limit to provide even pain relief medication. Of course, spending money on alcohol doesn't help.
The character with whom I suppose the audience is expected to identify with most is probably Matt, but he wasn't all that likeable, in my eyes. I was never really rooting for him. I found Steve to be the nicest, but he wasn't as developed a character and had less to do. His character was pretty much the Token Black Guy.
It is possible to draw parallels between movies like 'Carrie' and 'The Craft' with this film: social misfits acquiring supernatural powers. It comes from that kind of tradition. There's a fair amount of darkness in this story, and while there are some uplifting and funny parts, can that last? It is interesting that the characters with the horrendous backgrounds in these sorts of movies tend to get a chance to glimpse social redemption, which is snatched from them, and we all know what happens then...
It is rather predictable and formulaic, but nicely executed. Several plot points are left unanswered - the found footage style of shooting allowing the script-writers to run away laughing from explanations.
The special effects are good, blending well for the most part, not screaming at you.
The film is rated 15, with some violence and fairly intense scary scenes. I'd recommend it as one to watch, as it held my interest throughout. I wouldn't buy it, but would probably watch it again.
It is available to rent or buy currently. As it's a recent release, the DVD is £9.99 from Amazon, Blu-Ray just under £15. Find it cheaper, or rent it, is my advice.
Summary: Interesting take on superpower