Hooked Up Movie Review
Written by Simon Bland
DVD released by Signature Entertainment
Directed by Pablo Larcuen
Written by Pablo Larcuen and Eduard Sola
2013, 78 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on April 27th 2015
Stephen Ohl as Peter
Júlia Molins as Noemi
Jonah Ehrenreich as Tonio
Natascha Wiese as Katia
Hooked Up is the first feature film to be shot entirely with an iPhone. That’s pretty impressive. It doesn’t necessarily mean the film is groundbreaking in any other way, but it certainly is something. It’s also a testament to the very real notion that literally anyone can become a filmmaker these days. We all have the technology sat right in our pockets waiting to be utilised. In this case, the wielder was Spanish director Pablo Larcuen and the goal was to create a found footage horror movie. Seems a no brainer, right? If only the chosen sub-genre wasn’t a little worse for wear.
Hooked Up is a sort of Euro-horror dressed up as a US frat-boy frightener. It follows straight-laced Peter (Stephen Ohl) and his freewheeling friend Tonio (Jonah Ehrenreich); two buddies on an ill-fated lads weekend. We meet the pair on the morning after a regretful night, the result of which has seen Peter dumped and ditched by his longterm girlfriend. Sensing that his mate needs a bit of a pick me up, hapless ladies man Tonio arranges an impromptu trip to Barcelona in search of sex, booze and better times.
After initially putting up a fight, Peter soon embraces the party spirit and it’s not long before the pair have pulled at a local rave. However once back at the house of Peter’s beautiful yet mysterious new friend, things quickly start to unravel. With seemingly no escape and a supernatural threat hiding in the shadows, Peter and Tonio’s friendship is put to the test as the pair are forced to survive the night and each other.
Shooting an entire film on an iPhone can’t be easy (especially with their notoriously rubbish battery life) however it’s hard to shake the feeling that Hooked Up would have been better if it had gone the straight narrative route. The found-footage genre currently lays dormant and while this innovative shooting method is undeniably impressive, it doesn’t ruffle any feathers.
Larcuen places his jump scares just where you’d expect to find them and, at times, pushes the audience’s suspension of disbelief in terms of a character’s dedication to keep on filming. At one point, realising Peter’s having an asthma attack, Tonio stops to grab his camera before sprinting off to get his friend’s inhaler. Maybe we’re just being pernikity but maybe the found footage genre has run its course.
That said, there’s definitely scope for it to develop. If film has taught us anything it’s that all it takes is someone with an innovative angle to come along and re-invigorate a genre. If nothing else, Hooked Up is assurance that change will come. Accessibility has placed the odds in its favor, but unfortunately it’ll take a little more than a mobile phone camera to have it scaring us again.