Found footage has been done so many times now, can the formula ever be renewed? Here we look at the Evidence to find out.
Evidence is a 2013 movie directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi and he is no stranger to found footage as earlier works include 2009’s The Fourth Kind. If you recall, that movie took a fresh spin on the grainy handheld camera angle by filming duplicate professional scenes to give the movie a realistic documentary recreation feel. Continuing to form, Evidence tries to spin the genre again. We follow two detectives while they watch the footage from several cameras recovered from an abandoned gas station somewhere in the Nevada desert as they try to piece together all the evidence to solve this gruesome crime.
What makes this movie different from others in the same ilk? The “tech whizz” never utters the line, “I’ve downloaded all the footage and edited it together to run in sequence”, because let’s be honest, police detectives aren’t coming to work to watch a movie. We have to believe these victims are really dead and watching disjointed ‘evidence’ helps the audience suspend their disbelief. The story plays out one camera at a time, and good story writing allows later scenes to fill in gaps and answer questions asked earlier on.
The next fresh approach is the killer who dons a welding mask and blowtorch. This is fun, for around five minutes, but I’m not sure the physics of using a blowtorch to get the same effect as a ‘light sabre’ from a galaxy far far away hold up.
Thus begins the criticism. The camera footage is “corrupted” from all devices, and we get loud digital static popping up consistently throughout, even once used as an extremely cheap jump scare. This effect is later on somewhat explained into the twist of the story, however it doesn’t excuse how distracting and off putting it makes the viewing experience. The high pitched, almost ultra sonic, squeals of Rachel (Caitlin Stasey – Tomorrow When The War Began) behind the camera wear thin real fast and I for one began counting down the minutes till she met her molten demise.
Believing this genre of horror is difficult for me as I can never believe recording a life threatening event is more important than escaping it, with that aside, the story actually is pretty clever. The set up is formulaic and picking off characters one by one is nothing new, but by offsetting these scenes with those of our detectives, (Radha Mitchell – Silent Hill & Stephen Moyer – True Blood) we do feel a sense of relief each time we travel back to the safe environment within the police station, juxtaposed with the chaos of the gas station and that separates Evidence from most found footage efforts.
The final twist begins well, and the final reveal is executed perfectly, however travelling through the discovery montage, the very last scene leaves me asking a question. Why? The motives, much like in Eli Roth’s ‘Knock Knock’ don’t seem real or genuine. I know there are plenty of messed up people in the world, but these characters? I don’t buy it.