Writer: Michael McQuown
Stars: Courtney Palm, David Rountree, Shawn Lockie, Stephen Zimpel, Emilia Ares Zoryan, Aral Gibble, Brittany Underwood, Jake O'Conner, Michael Cotter and Tessa Munro
|This film was an official selection at the 11th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2015. Here's an index to my reviews of 2016 films.|
This is not just a found footage film, it’s a found footage anthology film and, like most anthology features, we’re given something to frame it and a few short stories to sit within it. Now, with a regular picture that’s fine, especially as that framing device usually features a host or a mechanism which ties the short pieces together, but it’s a rather awkward format for found footage, which is defined by a whole slew of inherent rules: something happened that was worthy of note and was recorded, but only the camera survives, left behind for someone to discover and pass on to us. The freedoms of the format allow (even often require) filmmakers to use cheap equipment, shoot in natural light and not worry about crappy sound. However, a bunch of restrictions creep in too, especially in editing, which can break the internal consistency unless it aims to trim down what’s on a recording to what really matters or to collate footage using a documentary approach. As you can imagine, this is paramount in an anthology or the whole thing breaks.
Unfortunately, it’s just the framing story rather than the feature and it’s when it’s combined with the rest of the stories that the internal consistency falls to pieces. How would the folk who share this footage find any of the footage from the other stories, especially when that footage was never left to be found, would need to be compiled from a variety of different sources (most of which would be technically impossible to acquire) and, in most instances, would have been carefully kept away from prying eyes? Even if, in some inexplicable scenario, they did manage to find all this disparate footage, they wouldn’t collate it together in this fashion anyway for reasons that I can’t go into because they would constitute spoilers. Let me just say that only the third of the stories has any real connection to the framing piece or, indeed, is viable for publishing to an audience. I did like one of the other two stories but given that its entire point is to have no business being in a found footage movie, it absolutely shouldn’t be here at all.
It’s a good little movie, if it wasn’t stuck in this framework, with decent acting and some agreeably creepy shots of David and Karen’s dead daughter Ashen. Sadly it is stuck in this framework, where it should have never been put without a further twist on the twist to make it viable. The second short, Cam Girls, isn’t as strong and it makes even less sense for this framework. I’m all for a couple of lesbians doing a cam show and I’m all for one of them rebelling against a devout Christian upbringing. I’m especially for her thinking that she might be possessed as that opens up a realm of possibilities, but none of the rest makes a jot of sense. What sort of cam show gets run like a lottery? Come to think of it, what sort of cam show features girls who don’t get undressed? And why would Jerry not disconnect the moment Caitlin gets too freaky on him, especially as he doesn’t even get to see a pair of boobs for his troubles? Emilia Ares Zoryan is good as Caitlin but absolutely nothing here makes sense and I nearly threw my hands up in despair.
In between each of these shorts, we return to the framing story of To Catch a Demon and wonder why it’s broken up into sections. As always, with this movie, it falls apart when we think about it. The whole point of found footage is that someone found some footage and showed it to us; how they choose to show it is reliant on what they found and what point they want to make and the point here is clearly that scientists have documented creatures that exist at a different speed to us. Oh yeah, that’s worth showing to us! So why do the unknown presenters think it it’s a good idea to break it up into sections? Why do they think it would be enhanced by the shenanigans of David and Karen or by what cam girls Caitlin and Sindy get up to? I see why they might include Amanda’s revenge on the sort of creatures the scientists explained, but how would they get that footage and why would they wait eight years to do so? I have precisely no idea and I’ve spent some time trying to figure it out.