Found Movie Review
Written by Simret Cheema-Innis
DVD released by Monster Pictures UK
Directed by Scott Schirmer
Written by Todd Rigney and Scott Schirmer
2012, 103 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 13th October 2014
Gavin Brown as Marty
Ethan Philbeck as Steve
Phyllis Munro as Mom
Louie Lawless as Dad
Alex Kogin as David
Shane Beasley as 'Headless' Killer
When lines like "My brother keeps a human head in his closet", captivate you at the start of a film, you hope to God that the film itself won't be a linear tale surviving on a composite of blood and gore alone.
Found is based on a novel by Todd Rigney, adapted for the screen by writer/director Scott Schirmer. It centers on a young school boy called Marty who has a penchant for horror movies and comics. His big brother Steve is a serial killer, but nobody knows this. School proves hard for the fifth grader as Marty is constantly bullied. Steve tells him to fight back, but it's not before long he finds a way to protect his little brother and Marty begins to realise his brother's obsession with serial killing runs a lot deeper. After discovering a horror movie called Headless in his brother's collection, Marty questions his own safety as he finds himself in a reality not far from the horror he watches.
The story is narrated by the central character Marty. It is a portrait of a serial killer as seen through the eyes of the younger brother. It details the relationship between brothers, the good one and the bad one. Steve is the outcast of the family but Marty still idolises him and is unable to see him as a bad person.
Marty's character displays a complex battle between understanding morals and coming to terms with what is right and wrong. His story could go either way, from becoming a killer like his brother or by challenging Steve's values which are forced upon him. Marty struggles to find the reason why Steve kills and even the audience isn't party to any kind of exposé. And this is the beauty of Found. It's a film essentially about a serial killer which doesn't focus too intimately on the killer, yet is still terrifying given the family-film aesthetic, the image of which is severed by the end.
The film-within-the-film, Headless (itself recently developed into a full-length feature) shows a menacing masked killer – played by Shane Beasley – tormenting his victims before massacring them. He preys on his victims, his distinctive choreographed stances and masked face create an unsettling realism that makes even the scariest looking member of Slipknot approachable. Fragments of another fabricated movie, Deep Dwellers are also included. It's homage to creature feature films from 50s which were great attempts in both style and performance.
Found becomes slightly misguided towards the end with multiple themes involving racism, sexual exploitation and unexpected incest which are forced upon the audience with little or no foreshadowing. But the true horror of this force-feed is relentless and torturing as we see the extent of Steve's character and just how far he'll go. With hints of A Serbian Film (2010), we're thrust into a medley of gore and the most unimaginably disturbing scenes that no young boy should ever have to endure.
Marty's story will leave your mouth gaping at the atrocities bared, and your love for horror almost questioned. It's well-written and directed with an unsettling realism that is far from any glossy Hollywood horror movie. Performances by Gavin Brown (Marty) and Ethan Philbeck (Steve) are shockingly convincing. It's the kind of film you can imagine being remade, but should be done with the original cast. Found is an easy film to overlook and perhaps underrated, but it will give you nightmares and if you have children, it will make you think.