Video cameras, a house in the middle of nowhere, and an angry spirit, this week we talk about Insert generic found footage movie here…but this time…it’s in 3D! That’s right we’re talking about Found footage 3D!
Found Footage 3D is the most unique carbon copy film I have seen. I can’t tell if the movie is a parody or serious as many of the scares work while also breaking down the found footage genre as a whole.
The movie begins with us following a small cast and crew as they prepare to create their found footage feature Spectre of Death! To set themselves apart they are attempting to film the movie in 3D. To be innovative, they are also filming the behind the scenes footage in 3D. Not only will this make them unique from other found footage films, but they can charge a premium for 3D tickets.
Spectre of Death’s plot centers around the strained relationship of Amy and Derek, who outside of the film are going through a divorce. This causes a nice bit of turmoil throughout the film as we have no idea if the fights are real or a part of the script.
Aside from Amy and Derek we have Andrew, the director of the film who is constantly at odds with Derek about the direction of the story. Andrew must keep reminding Derek that the film won’t hold up if the character has no reason to keep recording. He points out that if this were a real situation the character should just simply smash the demon or possessed person with the camera.
Carl, the sound guy for the film, is the voice of reason. When things go wrong or spiral out of control he is the first to say we need to leave or go to the hospital. I relate to him as he is an audio guy, a position I have some first hand experience with. He gets many of the best lines in the film and I wonder if that’s because the writer/director of the film Steve Degannero is a sound guy himself.
Lily is the PA on the film. This is her first “big” project and she is hoping to impress everyone and continue to something bigger. I felt her character deserved a larger arc. To me she seemed there only to fuel the fire of jealousy between Amy and Derek.
The last of our supporting cast includes Mark, good ole Mark is Derek’s brother and the man in charge of filming the behind the scenes footage which is what we watch for most of the film. It seems like Mark has a crush on his brother’s now ex-wife but cannot seem to figure out how to properly pursue her.
In probably the best cameo ever, Scott Weinberg decides to make an appearance. Scott Weinberg is one of the most prolific and notable genre film reviewers. If you are a genre fan you have probably read one of his reviews on Fandango, FEARnet, and movies.com. Scott Weinberg is actually the reason I found out about Found Footage 3D as he did an interview on the movie crypt podcast talking about it.
Steve DeGannero’s goal with this film was to do what Scream did to slashers but with Found Footage, and I think he did a perfect job. I give him props in the storytelling department as many found footage films would do giant exposition dumps for characters. Having the film be so meta allowed for the story and characters to come across naturally.
Reviewers of the film are pretty split.
Reviewers who champion the film really enjoy the breakdown and self awareness while keeping the film serious and telling a worthwhile story.
More critical views condemn the use of 3D and found footage as a means to sell more and be tacky. They consider it to be a generic found footage film.
My personal opinion is that the critical viewers missed the point of the movie. The film is supposed to break down the genre while adding in an element that in theory would make it worse. Yet, the joke is pulled off nicely and actually adds to the story. Granted, I haven’t seen in 3D but those who have seem to think the 3D was a strongpoint of the film.
Something I worry about is that this may be the nail in the coffin for found footage films. Similar to how Scream was for slasher films, after the deconstruction was done, there hasn’t really been a resurgence with the exception of Hatchet and a some select remakes.
I understand that the majority is sick of found footage, but I believe many films can benefit from them. I think of films like Cloverfield, VHS, and The Taking of Deborah Logan which were all great films and I don’t think would have the same effect if they weren’t found footage.
Now don’t get me wrong, plenty of films don’t work. While it was never produced I can’t find any possible scenario where a found footage Friday the 13th would have worked.