Demon Witch Child (1975)

(Spain, aka the Possessed) Reading up on Demon Witch Child leads to it being called a rip of the Exorcist. Really, this strange supernatural work only has one thing in common with the Exorcist. This would be the possession of a young girl. Besides that, it’s a completely different trip. First of all, the girl is possessed by a witch…AND a demon (!?). That detail is confusing. The child is not in a bed waiting for the priest to enter. This girl is roaming around normally while making the rudest–and often humorous–comments under the spell of the demon/witch. What she says to the detective searching for a baby killed by a satanic cult deserves applause. And then she chops a guy’s balls off! NOTHING like the Exorcist. Very little time is even spent on an exorcism.

A crude picture quality allows an authentic look for Demon Witch. This could be immediately improved, however, by removing the soundtrack and dismissing or skipping the melodramatic scenes of a priest and his ex-lover. Then it would be eerie as hell. Oh hell, just remake the damn thing. [rating: $6] –Kenyon

Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

If there’s anything redeeming about the otherwise ordinary Chernobyl Diaries, it’s that it proves a film about tragic urban exploring doesn’t need to be “found footage” to work. It doesn’t work well, though Chernobyl does provide sporadic suspense and claustrophobia that is pulled off slightly better than found sootage [sic] disasters such as the Tunnel and Grave Encounters. Like those films, the characters knowingly place themselves in a hazardous situation. In Chernobyl, the danger is mostly wild dogs and radiation. Hell, one or the other would have been enough, right? The curious ill-fated group is later confronted by mutant humanoids–likely a result of radiation–who come out of nowhere. And there may have been ghosts in there too. This wasn’t clear with all the other distractions in this inept attempt at R rated horror. [rating: $3] –Kenyon

Trollhunter (Norway, 2010)

The trouble with many of these found footages (Grave Encounters, et al) is caused by lack of believability. Found footage relies on that to be convincing. Convincing that it’s REAL. Otherwise, there’s really no point in making a found footage film. This requires a very natural feeling from the “actors” and, with any kind of film, LOGIC.

The opening of Trollhunter proclaims blah blah blah…and “they determined this to be authentic”. What the? Yea, an authentic COMEDY. Take for example this phone call by the trollhunter, who is knowingly overheard by a young film crew following him: “a blood sample? Hmmm, that’s going to be tough”. Later, he pulls out an oversized, comical syringe. Then there is the three-headed troll which trollhunter explains uses its extra heads to scare away other trolls. Still determined to get all the dirt on the trolls, the eager documentary trio show little concern about their own well-being. This catches up to them when they go in a cave found to be a troll “lair”.

While the trolls range from impressive to hokey to video game style, the trollhunter himself is the stand-out character (as it turns out, the actor playing him is a controversial comedian). From when he tells the film crew to cover themselves with troll stench to when he is actually battling the trolls with a giant flash bulb, the hunter is a curious character. A third-person filming perspective and deeper insight would have given Trollhunter–the character and film itself–the depth it deserves. [rating: $5] –Kenyon