MOVIE TITLE Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by STUDIO
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by John Swetnam
2013, 94 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 21st April 2014
Stephen Moyer as Detective Reese
Radha Mitchell as Detective Burquez
Caitlin Stasey as Rachel
Nolan Gerard Funk as Tyler Morris
Torrey DeVitto as Leann
Dale Dickey as Katrina Fleishman
With a title like that, I have come to expect found footage. Sadly, I wasn't entirely wrong – or at least, I wasn't, most of the time. It's an old trick, played from Cannibal Holocaust to Sinister; having properly filmed bits of drama bookend the found footage stuff. It lets real actors and properly filmed story hook you in before it cuts to the annoying alternative.
However, I do try to give these things a chance – really I do – so I was prepared to stick with Evidence well into the found footage shtick. Radha Mitchell and True Blood hunk Stephen Moyer play a pair of cops watching video footage in the aftermath of a bloody massacre at an abandoned gas station. That footage is the remains of a documentary following a girl as she attempts to find fame in Las Vegas. Her level of talent appears to have been vastly overstated by those following her, but that's beside the point. When their bus breaks down in the desert, the girls and a group of fellow travellers seek refuge in a nearby gas station. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it also happens to be a local serial killer's hideout. Sure, it's found footage, but that's a more interesting concept than the majority of anything with 'Paranormal' or 'Diaries' in the title.
What Evidence ultimately amounts to is us watching a group of people watch another group of people on TV. Thankfully, some of those people die, so at least it's more interesting than Gogglebox. Mitchell and Moyer are the star draw here, even though their screen time amounts to no more than fifteen minutes. Neither is given much to do, although it is distracting watching Moyer act without doing the Bill Compton accent. The rest is mostly found footage business as usual.
That, for the uninitiated, is a case of our heroines running around in the darkness, screaming unintelligibly while a mostly unseen figure chases them occasionally. It's not all that different to anything we've seen before, although the slasher movie is an angle not usually covered by the subgenre. Too dingy, predictable and slightly annoying, Evidence is nowhere near revolutionising the found footage film, but at least it's entertaining enough. Its killer looks good too, clad in industrial gear and wielding an enormous blowtorch/flamethrower. There are some nice ideas at play - it's just a shame director Olatunde Osunsanmi couldn't utilise them better. Its twist, however, is simply awful.
A fine cross between crime thriller and slasher film, Evidence is well-made and engaging, but ultimately lacks originality and conviction. "I can fix anything with editing," brags wannabe documentary maker Rachel. Not quite, but Evidence does a good job of trying.