Evidence DVD Review
Directed by Howie Askins
Written by Ryan McCoy
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 76 minutes, Rated 15
DVD released on 12 March 2012
Ryan McCoy as Ryan
Brett J. Rosenberg as Brett
Abigail Richie as Abi
Ashley Bracken as Ashley
It's a found footage film in which two young couples decide to go camping in the woods. Initially, Howie Askins's Evidence doesn't sound very promising at all. Indeed, the first half is almost a direct re-run of The Blair Witch Project; strange sounds, sinister messages and destroyed campsites. Eventually the film transforms into something completely different, but its opening will invite a lot of unfortunate comparison to The Blair Witch Project.
There's an unwritten rule in this subgenre of cinema that the guy carrying the camera must be the most horrible person in the film. In this respect, Evidence does not disappoint. Much of Ryan's footage consists of his friends shouting into the lens, repeatedly telling him to shut up. He becomes so obnoxious at one point that I found myself wondering whether he was going to turn serial killer on his friends. The camping trip was his idea; filming a documentary about best friend Brett is his justification for keeping the camera rolling at all times. At night, they hear odd sounds coming from within the woods. During the day, they spot a strange creature lurking in the bushes. By the second night, the kids are ready to go home. And then the creature does a little more than just lurk. And it's not alone either...
The preamble done with, Evidence transforms into a high octane game of cat and mouse, not unlike the non-stop action of [REC]. I hope you like the sight of actress Ashley Bracken's bottom – you'll see a lot of it, always running away. It's exhausting. The constant drive to keep running isn't always plausible – there are a number of times where our heroes enter a relatively safe looking house or shed, only to immediately run out the back door. Surely keeping quiet and hiding under a bed or in a cupboard would be a more sensible option? There's some effort to explain why the group keep dragging a camera around (it makes for a good light source, apparently) but it never really rings true.
But then, such films are rarely made with plausibility or plot in mind. They exist to make the viewer jump and scream - to think twice about that camping trip. Here, Evidence is fantastic. There are so many sudden shocks and jump scares that it eventually falls into a distinct rhythm. A moment of calm? Rest assured that the next monster attack is no more than three seconds away. But since the limitations of the subgenre leave the monsters incapable of killing anyone on-screen (there'd be no-one left to hold the camera) it makes them seem somewhat incompetent. A shame, since they're otherwise very intimidating. What little is revealed of them is quite similar to the aliens of Attack The Block, and the aftermath of one of their attacks gives the film its most chilling moment. A scene in which the survivors are holed up in their camper van is like what Apollo 18 would have been if the astronauts had just stayed in a car park instead of going to the Moon.
None of Evidence is particularly innovative or original, but it does have a breathless energy generally lacking from the subgenre. These days it's refreshing to see a found footage movie that's not ripping off Paranormal Activity – even if it is a [REC] derivative instead. It owes a lot to the latter film without being a complete clone. It's far from perfect but is still a very entertaining ride - occasionally annoying and repetitive, but otherwise a lot of fun. After carefully reviewing the Evidence, I can thoroughly recommend this movie to fans of found footage film.
Video and Audio:
It looks and sounds as good as this sort of thing can, although the night-time scenes are a bit too dark.