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What’s it About?

Ryan is making a documentary on his friend, Brett, about camping for the first time. However, once they begin camping, they discover that there is a mysterious figure that is hunting them.

“Evidence”

Directed by Howie Askins

5 out of 10

By Vic

Howie Askins, an Upstate New York native, is known for his short projects that have garnered awards locally starting back in 2007 with Donation and continuing with others like “Safe” and “Devil Girl.” After these successes I wonder why for a full length film, with a running time of about 80 minutes, would he go with doing a POV style “Found Footage” movie. I, personally am no longer a big fan of FF flicks anymore. Just a casual fan.

If the movie is inventive, gripping, exciting or even remotely interesting I usually bite the bullet and enjoy it for what it is. Lately, though, most FF movies I been indulging in (The Paranormal Activity/Grave Encounters Movies excluded) have been so disappointing or at least not as good as they could be. Perhaps that’s why I’m dis-heartened every time I have to sit and watch one. And I really wanted to like this one!

I came across “Evidence” after a colleague of mine from http://www.horrornews.net reviewed “The Lost Coast Tapes” (as did I https://vicsmovieden.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/vics-review-the-lost-coast-tapes-2012/) and he mentioned that “Evidence” appeared to be a better creature feature FF movie. So, I acquired it at.  I am still not sure why it took 2 days to sit through an 80 minute movie. I eventually came to the conclusion that

Askins puts out a great effort but way too late in the film and by then it’s just too far in to give the audience some crucial plot details and information. Askins keeps it simple for the second half of the movie supplying us with action and some tense moments that keep the film from totally sinking into a more routine outing.

Ryan McCoy (who wrote the film) stars here as himself. An overzealous and quite inconsiderate dude who, like almost all these types, loves his camera and is filming a Doc about his friend, Brett (Brett Rosenberg, Fear of Flying) who is participating on  his first camping trip with them.

A Doc about a camping trip? Really? There are two guys so there must be two girls. Makes sense right? The two lead actresses are Abigail Richie (Balance) who is Ryan’s girl and the spunky Ashley Bracken (Unlaced) as Brett’s girl. Sort of. I noticed that most of these actors have all come from doing Short Films.

Here they have to carry the movie and the material a bit further and they need the stamina and energy to make it all work. Sometimes they hit. Like when the hear strange things in the woods that are not obviously Bears. Sometimes they miss. When they continually get pissed at Ryan half the time when he seems aloof about weird noises, strange dark figures that do not seem like normal animals and even treating the women like shit. He’s constantly telling them to “shut the fuck up”

Yeah, Ryan is that guy that can never turn the camera off and like all the other gazillion FF movies, he is always filming and there is always someone that says something like “Why are you still filming?” or “Turn the fucking camera off.” The set up is simple. We get intros all around when Ryan and Brett get ready for the trip and we get the obligatory to and fro which isn’t too bad if a bit routine.

It isn’t unbearable but I couldn’t help looking at my watch and wishing all this would move on a bit. The intros are the worst sometimes. Askins at least gives us some decent dialog between them all and some funny quips like Ashley’s reaction to Ryan making Abigail drive the RV – “You’re all gonna die.” hehehe. Well as they settle in, Brett bitches about having to hike and carry all their gear. “Why do we have an RV if we aren’t gonna use it?”

They start their hike and venture out to the woods, Ryan always recording and sometimes passing it on Abigail to shoot. As we settle in with the characters I begin to notice just how uninteresting they really are. Ryan says he making  a “documentary” but it never appears that way.

He’s just following people around and just doing random shooting and bugging everyone with his over the top control. What it seems like he’s doing is just shooting an unorganized camping trip where Brett seems to be bored and disinterested. Something worthy more of YouTube than a local film festival.

The girls hang out together, always in the lead, giggle, turn and face the camera, say something then continue walking. Ho hum. Night time finally arrives and we get more of the same. They get high, drink and the guys get Ashley and Abigail to kiss only if the men promise to kiss each other too. Ugh. Ryan forces them to drink whiskey and they reluctantly do and Ashley gets blatantly shitfaced having to face the next morning and the events to follow with a massive hangover.

So, what’s in the woods? Yeah, there is something out there making their lives miserable. After a strange dude approaches them (one of the better scenes in the film) and scares the shit out of them we think that things are about to get very strange.

Askins gives up noises, weird looking animals and when things get really strange and Brett disappears then we get to the meat of the movie but it is too fleeting because these damn FF movies always have such short running times.

Ryan is absolutely pissed because he believes that Brett intentionally trashed the RV.  In the third act of the movie there are some tense parts involving soldiers, well, we think they are but nothing is really explained. The girls end up running for their lives suddenly coming across some facility that is either housing these strange creatures or experimenting on them.

There is a brutal scene involving a pregnant woman which only adds to the confusion. What the hell is really going on? Askins is making us really think about all of this but I’m too tired to make any conclusions at this time.

Some random Soldier dudes faces creatures and apparently zombies too. Or are they infected? Who knows? Nothing IS explained. The guy does his best to protect the girls who are freaking out but of course still shooting video but only because they need the light. Abby takes over and we get more and more footage of Ashley running, screaming, falling and running again. Like always. I must admit all of the unexplained mayhem kicks up the energy a bit and I applaud Askins on this.

He is supplying us with what we all want to see except that it makes absolutely no sense. If you don’t mind of all this then Evidence is right up your alley and  towards the end it seems like it wants to be every sort of horror/creature flick.  Monsters, zombies (?),  soldiers, pregnant women that explode and then the odd ending that turns into a hybrid of Cloverfield and 28 Days Later. Stay tuned for the lengthy end credits which still had me wondering what I was just watched.

In closing, the film just barely rises above the mediocrity of the more recent FF crap I’ve watched. The cast, while really routine (Plus not being very good actors. Brett becomes increasingly annoying with his hysterical line deliveries) do have a bit of likeable energy and persistence. The camera work is well…you know already, it’s a FF movie! But the last half which could have been insanely good given that it is established that there are some creepy crawlies out there,  just ended up being an energetic but confusing mess.

It’s good that we are getting some action and tension but like I said, what’s it all mean? Was this place always there? How did the girls just happen into this facility from running through the woods? Just a little bit of info would have gone a long way.  “Evidence” is just good enough for a one time watch but that’s about it. We’ll see what the next found footage movie will hold.

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