Review by: Dave Wain
Stars: Jon Foster, Sarah Jones, Mark Steger, Faran Tahir, Stanley B. Herman
Written by: Karl Mueller
UK Certification: 15
UK RRP: £9.99
UK DVD Region: 2
Runtime: 80 minutes
Directed by: Karl Mueller
UK Release Date: 23rd June 2014
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment
We’re introduced to Scott (Foster) and Penny (Jones) right off the bat as we join them on their drive into what appears to be lush, sun-drenched islolation. Scott voiceover asks if “we ever dream our life had an eject button”, and “wouldn’t you like to sell all your possessions and movie into seclusion” to give us the impression that this twenty-something couple have relocated to this remote wilderness to escape the pressures of back home. However, Scott’s voiceover also asks “what if you achieved this but realised you weren’t alone?”.
Integrated into the film is footage of Scott’s video diary which he keeps to detail how the pair are coping with this lifestyle change. During one such piece to camera we spot a dark figure behind him momentarily, and when Scott notices this he discovers that his car keys have been snatched. Delving into who this guy could be, he discovers where this individual lives and along with Penny they pay him a visit – the horror movie kind of visit, where no one is home so they look around anyway! It turns out the property belongs to the infamous Mr. Jones, a legendary artist who produces sculptures while retaining an air of mystery as to his actual identity.
This revelation prompts Scott and Penny to do some research on who this man actually is, so they set about interviewing art collectors and various experts in order to try and ascertain some background on this secretive individual. As they delve deeper they discover that the legend that surrounds Mr. Jones falls into a more malevolent situation with many of the people that they interview simply pleading for them to stop their enquiries. They warn of a deep rooted evil – something that should be left alone at all costs. Needless to say Scott and Penny listen to this advice and just walk away….. Of course they don’t, and scenes of tiresome found footage ensue.
Despite its fascinatingly poised opening third, this movie soon descends into rather uninspired generic found footage hokum. It worked so hard for those initial stages to establish Scott and Penny as solid well written characters, as well as providing us with this truly chilling urban legend-esque Mr. Jones. The idea of an artist sending out his creepy sculptures since the 1970s to unsuspecting recipients is a thoroughly intriguing and disturbing concept. Why not follow it through with a more traditional film-making narrative? The film would have benefitted from this immeasurably.
Instead the final half hour plays out with such tedium as it descends into a surrealist nightmare that never quite becomes the arthouse horror it aspires to be. It’s peppered with Jones’ sculptures alongside prophetic imagery, voiceovers from the couple’s interviews and Scott staggering through the nocturnal wilderness wearing a mask and carrying a lantern. It’s nonsensical, out of its depth and teeth-grindingly frustrating.
4.5 out of 10