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
Monster in the Closet (1986) Horror-comedy from Troma with intentional movie cliches. The monster–which is actually kinda cool–hides in closets, grabs people and throws clothes out of the closet. After even the military can’t stop the monster that soon threatens the entire world, the cameo-filled cast concludes that they must destroy all closets. I guess it was either that or nuke the entire planet from orbit. [rating: $6] –Kenyon
The Host (2006, South Korea) When approaching the Host, it’s important to recognize what this film is really about. It’s not about a mammoth mutant amphibious creature wreaking havoc. Little attention is paid to its biology and motivations. It’s primarily about a ragtag family determined to rescue their child from the clutches of the sea monster, which in a nod to classic sci-fi monsters, is the result of toxic chemicals carelessly dumped. This is secondary to the Host (in fact, the Korean version of the movie poster shows the family, unlike the U.S version with the creature’s tentacle). With focus on the family’s need to recover the girl, the Host has much heart. But it also has the strength to combine sci-fi horror, comedy and adventure. Oh, this family is ragTAG! There are also some social political themes that you can look up on your own.
Now, a heck of a lot of toxic waste was put into the water. If that much formaldehyde entered the river, there must be other animals that were effected, not just the one. Where are they?! Must have died. Anyways, to sum it up, the Host is like a warm-hearted Cloverfield in daylight. Yea that’s right, DAYLIGHT. The effects for the monster are so sharp that it can be clearly shown without hiding it in the dark. Nice work! [rating: $9]. –Kenyon
The Boogens (1981) Mostly mundane in its first hour, the Boogens suffers from several pot holes. Oh my bad, i mean PLOT holes. The “monsters” keep a low profile during that hour, only showing their tentacle grabbing people. When the mutants are finally shown full body (i think), it’s still a mystery as to the what, why, where and how. The “how” being this: how could they have survived in a mine tunnel cave for 80 years. And how about this for a why: Why do they kill one guy in the garage and then bring him down to the cave where he is found floating in the water, while they kill some girl and leave her in the basement. Just left there. Didn’t even bother to eat her. The two lead girls look straight out of most any other early campy 80s horror film, and in fact one of them was in the original Prom Night. At least the Boogens didn’t get REMADE yet! [rating: $4] –Kenyon