FOUND (2012) DVD REVIEW
DIRECTED BY: Scott Schirmer
WRITTEN BY: Scott Schirmer
STARRING: Ethan Philbeck, Gavin Brown, Phyllis Munro
RUNNING TIME: 103 mins
UK DISTRIBUTOR: Monster Pictures UK
UK RELEASE DATE: 20th October 2014
“Stuff like this could really warp a person…”
Scott Schirmer’s feature length debut is a bold venture into the weird and wonderful world of ‘Video Nasty’ era cinema, but it fails to hit the punches and actually leaves something of a bitter taste in the mouth (and not in a good way).
Our protagonist here is 12-year-old Marty (on-screen debut from Gavin Brown) who casually explains to us in the film’s opening sequence that his older brother Steve (Ethan Philbeck) is a serial killer; showing us the severed heads his brother keeps in a bowling bag in his closet. It is an impressive opening and one that is played so nonchalantly that it is hard to not be captivated from the off.
Based on Todd Rigney’s novel of the same name, Marty explains that everyone in his family has a secret: his father has a love of adult magazines, his mother has kept old love letters from her past. I’m quite sure that in the novel, such facts allow character development and serve as a contributor to Steve becoming the psychopath that he becomes, but on screen, this information goes nowhere and becomes the first of many plot-based issues.
The core brotherly dynamic between Marty and his brother is reminiscent of that of Michael and Sam (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) in ‘The Lost Boys’ (1987) and it is Steve’s protection of his little brother which provides the twisted logic for him to commit the murders he does. Marty does well at school, but is continually bullied by his fellow class mates and, also, his (supposed) best friend.
Upon learning of this, Steve takes it upon himself to deal with his brother’s issues accordingly. It is never fully explained as to why Steve feels so passionately about his little brother, given that Marty spends the majority of the film terrified of him and longing for “the old Steve” and Steve spends as much time protecting his brother as he does threatening to kill him. The confusion continues into the motives behind Steve’s justification for beginning his killing spree. Let’s just say there’s more than a few racist undertones. None of which are accurately explained and such accusations should not and cannot be taken lightly with zero explanation.
Even more confusingly, it is the brothers’ shared love of exploitation films which also serves to be a justification for Steve’s love of decapitating his victims. Owner of hundreds of horror video tapes, and movie posters adorning his bedroom walls, Steve copycats the killers from his favourite movies –all of which have been created by SFX maestros The Clockwerk Creature Company and Schirmer himself- mimicking their every move.
Not *entirely* sure that’s the right message Schirmer wants to be sending out….
But without dwelling too heavily on this, the films within the film are quite the delight and are actually ‘FOUND.’’s saving graces. Schirmer’s love of the genre cannot be denied and the wonderous, visceral creations from The Clockwerk Creature Company and effects artist Arthur Cullipher are to be applauded. ‘Headless’ in particular showcases eyeballs being plucked from the skull and eaten as well as breasts being sliced from the torso. It ‘looks’ fabulous. And the severed heads used are incredibly impressive given the low budget costs of the feature itself. Let alone the films within it.
Genre lovers should give this ago. Undoubtedly. You would be hard-pressed to not identify with Marty on some level – give his love of the macabre and his morbid fascination with death and low budget horror movies. There’s some fantastic scenes that are not to be missed 0 it is just such a shame that they are lost in amongst a plot that doesn’t seem to find the balance between the horror movies the characters are watching and the REAL horror that is going on in their lives. This is a vital component into making this film be a real success. There’s a hell of a lot of heart, here. And Schirmer has given it his best shot.
The DVD extras include: Behind the scenes feature – offering an insight into Schirmer’s adaptation of Rigney’s novel and the ideas that inspired him to create ‘FOUND.’ Particularly interesting to see the creation of the films-within-the-film and the SFX used.
Interviews – with Schirmer