Superhero movies, found footage movies, teen angst movies. All old hat, been there done that. But this film has managed to breathe new life into all three at once.
There’s a lot to say about this film- unfortunately, a lot of it hinges on some major plot points, and, not being a fan of spoilers in film reviews, I’m going to tread as carefully as I can.
Firstly, the “found-footage” issue. It’s certainly an over-used gimmick, but here I found it absolutely essential to the film’s success. To begin with, it gives us a diary-like insight into our lead’s mental state. We see his life as he sees it and, for the most part, you’re with him as his life spirals out of his control. In a lot of superhero movies, it’s difficult to feel involved when two characters are knocking seven bells out of each other in increasingly spectacular ways. It’s fun to watch, but you don’t feel the punches. However, when a similar scene is viewed via grainy, silent, CCTV footage, it takes on a whole new resonance that actually makes you flinch.
The film begins in a manner that is unexpectedly brutal. You witness the main character being bullied at home and at school, and the video camera footage helps sell the reality of sudden, abrupt, unjust violence.
The relationship amongst the three leads is also interesting and well-told, climaxing in the epic finale as two characters do wrong things for what they believe to be the right reasons.
The film does have its slow moments, and a few goofs here and there (when filming a mirror, you can’t suddenly pan around whilst your mirror image stays still), but for me it was a film that ticked the right boxes in the right way. If I hadn’t been so keen to see The Woman in Black, I might have gone straight back in to watch it again.