Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FOUND

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I'm reluctant for the most part to refer to “Found” as a horror film per se, at least partially because I feel like that a film like this has a little more going on on one hand, and will alienate many of the die hard gore heads on the other. Like “Thanatomorphose” which I talked about the other day, it's both slightly artier and a great deal slower paced than the average slash n' gash affair, and the fact that the bloodshed in it is actually fairly minimal (though the few times it comes up, it's pretty nuts) should be made clear from the start. Unlike “Thanatomorphose” though, I've no reservations about praising this film.

Really “Found” is a film about the difficulties of being a young boy of a certain age, of feeling alone and helpless in the world. It's about realising you have no one to rely on sometimes, or that when you do there's a chance they'll let you down massively. The plot is simple – Marty is a shy but good natured 12 year old boy obsessed with horror films and comics who's entering a rough period in his youth where he's starting to feel alienated from his family, and is being bullied at school. To be honest I think the character is part of the reason I was hooked into the film – replace “comics” with “death metal” and that was definitely me at that age, and I'd imagine that character will resonate with some of you reading this too. However, the big difference between he and I, is that I didn't have an older brother who was a serial killer.

Marty's discover of his brother's grim secret life is obviously key to the plot here. It's revealed pretty much straight away. The first forty minutes or so of the film though are spent setting up Marty's world, his bullying in school and the resulting fall out, the beginnings of his withdrawal from his family, and his relationship with his best friend and fellow horror geek. So far, so “Stand By Me”. It's when during a sleepover he and said best friend watch “Headless”, a film Marty realises is the inspiration for some of his brother's..eh..”work”, that the second act begins, and the more straight forward Horror Movie section really becomes the focus. I don't want to really get into the plot further than that here, but it's perhaps provident for those who've spent the first half going “when is someone going to get chopped up?” to point out that when the “Headless” tape is slipped into the VHS there's a couple of graphic segments of mutilation and necrophilia that'll keep the Gorezone crowd more than happy.
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The killings other than these sections, are never seen on screen for the most part. At one point they're heard from an adjourning room, and the effect of hearing the victims rather than seeing them works very well. It's far more evocative, and far more in line with the way Marty's inner world is unravelling – he can only imagine what's happening in the way he can only imagine what his brother has been up to all this time.

The real horror in the film for me is really that of a young man's realisation that the world is an absolutely fucking awful place. Marty has come out of primary school, into the big bad world of bullies, racism (which admittedly is handled pretty clumsily, though not offensively), homophobia, and trying to figure out how to be a man. “Found” documents two stories really – that of a disturbed older boy committing atrocious acts right under the noses of those around him, and at the same time the story of a naïve and good natured young boy become hardened and cold via his experience of the world around him. It's sad to see. Given how much he obviously looks up to his older brother, the only person who looks out for him, it's clear he's absolutely devastated by his discovery of what's going on.

The inevitable and grizzly climax to the story you can kind of see coming, but it's handled very well by the filmmakers none the less – and I'll tell you what, the last shot before it cuts to the credits is fucking brutal. Seriously, it's an image that'll stay with you for a while. This film was made for $8000 which seems crazy cheap given the quality of it too, both in terms of quality of visuals and performances. Gavin Brown who plays “Marty” is excellent, particularly for someone so young. The pacing will possibly be a problem for some, but I feel like it serves the purpose of the story, they're trying to build a plot rather than provide cheap thrills. I'd also be curious to read the book it was based on, which was written by a guy named Todd Rigney.

This film seems to be getting a bunch of notice and critical acclaim and the like, and to be honest, for once I feel like it deserves it. A solid, dark drama film that's actually kinda touching, and one of the few recent scary movies where the story comes first.

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