Even when Evidence, the story of two impossibly square detectives trying to hunt down a serial killer by piecing together the victims’ video footage, is lamely rationalizing why its lambs being led to slaughter are perpetually recording everything, and why their cameras operate a certain way, it can be nerve-jangling in its intensity. The scrim of found footage can give a film an added sense of subjectivity, though it often exists primarily, and sometimes to successful effect, at covering up a financially strapped filmmaker’s lack of creative vision. This can yield stunning effects as terror is conveyed by what the camera’s position, or the dropping of frames, doesn’t allow us to see. Scenes of Evidence’s masked serial killer blowtorching the fools who wander onto an abandoned gas station in the Las Vegas desert after their minivan somersaults toward inoperability are gruesomely suggestive, and after a while even the gimmicky negative night vision on a would-be documentarian’s camera begins to expressionistically suggest a weird alien transmission. Except the film is usually not trying to goose us, but cringingly trying to rationalize its use of found footage throughout scenes of Stephen Moyer and Radha Mitchell’s detectives pausing and rewinding images (even finding more footage in a flash drive inside a dead victim’s mouth), condescending to audiences by pointing out how easily it is for the spectator to miss the obvious. Usually one questions how much a film actually benefits from its found-footage affectation, but in the case of Evidence, whose framing device suggests a bad CW production of MST3K, one wishes it had spared us the remedial theorizing on media culture and artistic representation and license and less apologetically acted the part of a straight-up horror film.
- Image Entertainment
- 94 min
- Olatunde Osunsanmi
- John Swetnam
- Stephen Moyer, Radha Mitchell, Torrey DeVitto, Nolan Gerard Funk, Harry Lennix, Dale Dickey, Caitlin Stasey, Aml Ameen, John Newton, Svetlana Metkina
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