Movie Review - Found
Now available on VOD and in selected theaters - Found is the ambitious feature-length debut from writer / director Scott Shirmer, based on the intensely disturbing 2004 novel of the same name, penned by Todd Rigney. This is a fine example of how low-budget indie horror flicks can pack just as much of a wallop as anything the big studios are putting out. My hats off to the filmmakers who masterfully manipulate the emotions of the audience, imbuing the viewers with the sensibilities of the twelve year old narrator and creating enough empathy for the main characters that we continue to care about them even when things take a more sinister turn. And that's not even mentioning the amazing amount of realistic looking gore splattered throughout the film like a Jackson Pollack painting. I highly suggest you go see Found.
Found is not your average horror film. It's more a coming of age film that plays like a love letter to the genre. In the opening minutes of the movie, we learn that twelve year old Marty has discovered all of his family's deepest secrets: His mother's love letters from an old boyfriend, his father's stash of porn, and the fact that his older brother, Steve, is a serial killer. Marty is bullied at school and takes solace in his love of slasher films, and he uses this to forge bonds with his older brother while keeping his secret safe. But as their life at home begins to become strained, these bonds will be tested, as will the limits that Steve will go to in order to protect his brother and himself. And without revealing any details, let me just say that the climax of the film is absolutely shocking.
The acting is stellar from everyone in the cast, but the performance of Gavin Brown as Marty is the backbone of the entire film. A performance of this magnitude is rare from such a young actor, especially considering this is his first film. He captivates us for the length of the film. He becomes a conductor for the audience's sensibilities, bringing the inner twelve year old out of all of us. When he feels afraid, we feel afraid. It is truly remarkable. Ethan Philbeck, as his older brother Steve, downplays any emotion and presents us with a stone faced enigma. He sells it with a nuanced subtlety that makes for an absolutely chilling performance. Louie Lawless and Phyllis Munro are strong as the boys parents, and Shane Beasley absolutely steals the film for the five minutes he is onscreen as the Headless killer.
I'll take a minute to note, that one of the more disturbing and gory moments of the movie comes in the 'film within a film': Headless, which looks like it will be getting its' own feature length adaptation sometime soon. And I could not be more excited. In the meantime, I really can't stress enough what an achievement this film is, especially given the limited resources the filmmakers had to work with. I suggest you check this out on VOD while it's still available. It is extremely important to support indie films like this, so that the larger studios see that horror is a viable medium and continue to embrace original work, foregoing the barrage of watered down remakes and the inclination to turn everything into a franchise. And now I'll get off my soapbox and reiterate, I really liked Found, and I am really looking forward to seeing Headless when it comes out. Cheers.