Monday, September 26, 2011
Exhibit A (2007)
Exhibit A is a found footage flick from our friends across the pond, the Brits. Oh bloody hell Cortez, not another one of these types of movie pictures! Before you get your trousers in a bunch, this found footage flick actually has something interesting going on. No cheap scares. No bumps or thumps in the night. No loud jolt you out of your seat moments. Just a family completely deteriorating with an absolutely nutty father leading the way.
Our film begins with a seemingly normal family: a mother, father, teenage son and daughter. Laughing and joking around in the kitchen, the daughter plays with the new family toy. What else? A video camera. Moving away from the kitchen and into her room, we see the girl as she talks to the camera and shows us the various objects which adorn and take residence in it. She stops talking to the camera as she notices a young teenage girl, a neighbor, playing basketball in the driveway. At first, we think she's just filming her as she's basically shooting everything within view of the new toy. But after a prolonged period, we get a sense that the daughter has a particular interest in this girl.
Dad is revealed to be a career focused man. Hopeful of a promotion that is sure to come his way. Scratch that, more like he knows he has it in the bag. So much so, that he's taken the family out to the British coast and they've fallen in love with a particular seaside home. Even further, he's put money down on the place as surely, the promotion is coming his way soon.
As the daughter continues to document the daily doings of the family, little things start to come to the surface that initially, she thinks nothing of: she finds stacks of lotto tickets in the garage, she finds dad having a hushed conversation on his cellphone one night in said locale. But she soon grows worried after more late night conversations take place and even more so when dad insists on digging up the backyard and installing a pool to increase property value. Even crazier, it's revealed that a fellow co-worker of the father was severely beaten one night. And slowly, secrets start to unravel. Not just that of the father, but secrets that are being carried by each member of the family.
Things come to a head when we learn the father's promotion did not go through, he was in fact responsible for the beating of the co-worker, and the purchase of the seaside home fell through. What was meant to be a BBQ to celebrate with family and friends turns into a terrifying spectacle as dad begs to anyone within a 5ft. radius to dance with him in the back yard to some reggae music. Dad completely flips. It's the most uncomfortable moment in the film as the appearance of this 'I have it together' family man completely falls apart. Things get much worse from here on out as the father, brutally chastised by the family, turns on each member and exposes their secrets. And all of this leads to one horrifying and fateful finish.
Exhibit A is exactly the type of film we need in order to keep the found footage sub-genre relevant, interesting and fresh. It's not without it's faults (there were times where all 4 family members were on camera so you wondered who the heck was filming them). But it's engrossing, slow burning and ultimately, it's what we want from a horror film: it's shocking and terrifying. This film should be garnering more notoriety than it has.
Cortez the Killer