A young Californian couple agree to a six month house swap, leaving Echo Park for Glastonbury. Unfortunately, their temporary home comes with an unexpected tenant.
I don’t hate found footage films. I really don’t. They just demand special care, a bit more heavy-lifting in the plot to excuse the fact that your leads are constantly pointing cameras at things any sane person would run away from.
“You’re obsessed with that thing,”says Ginny (Brodie) as her boyfriend Matt (Nolan) once again insists that if they’re going to have a conversation perhaps he should film it. You can say that again, old thing, just you wait until he drags his wounded self around the house to fetch the camera from the bedroom so he can get the climax of the movie in close-up.
Even if we forgive the camera —which we don’t —we also have to turn a blind eye to the lead character explaining to us that he’s decided not to tell his girlfriend about the intruder that keeps breaking into their house because ‘It might be nothing, I don’t want to scare her.’At this point, said intruder has broken in several times and paused to take a refreshing dump on their floor. I hope I don’t sound too lily-livered when I suggest that I would not —indeed could not —consider this potentially ‘nothing’. Strangers breaking into my house and depositing their bottom contents around the place is on my list of ‘Quite Important Things To Worry About.’
Matt’s solution is to keep schtum and sprinkle some bubble wrap around the place. I might suggest toilet paper would have been more useful.
When, finally, he’s forced to admit all to his girlfriend they go to the police who send Comedy Plod round to sit at Matt’s kitchen table and explain that there’s nothing they can do about the fact that someone keeps breaking into his house. Comedy Plod also points out that the security cameras Matt has placed in the rooms of his home might be against the law as there’s a public right of way outside. If only Matt hadn’t bought those naughty security cameras that shoot footage through brick walls he might have avoided contravening the privacy of passing ramblers.
You can do anything in horror, but it’s all about suspension of disbelief, we want to accept, we want to be scared, all you have to do is work a little, give us just enough reason to keep going along with it all. Writer and director, Mark Ezra does the opposite, time and again and I can’t forgive him for it.
What makes it more frustrating is that the movie is not without its moments, in fact it features a number of very effective scares, but the yawning chasms of logic ruin the whole. Be cleverer. Make it work. If your audience is shaking its head in exasperation at the nonsense of it all you’ve lost them.
If you’re the fan of the late eighties version of The Saint (I’m assuming there’s only one of you as it was pretty awful) you’ll be pleased to spot Simon Dutton as the So English It Hurts original owner of the cottage. He literally phones his performance in via Skype. Sensible chap.