Evidence: Cannes 2011 Review
Howie Askins directs a cast, led by Ryan McCoy, in the horror film.
CANNES -- Don't go into the woods, whether to grandma's house or just to get out of L.A.: That's always a tried-and-true formula for horror movies.
In this Market offering, the haunted house this time is a Winnebago with four college kids en route to a fun weekend outside of L.A. They are not the outdoors types, but have been coerced into this nature trek by an obnoxious film student who wants to document the weekend. It's soon pretty obvious that he may be in for stirring things up for the sake of his “artistry.”
The campers are a generic mix: good-looking guy Brent, hottie chick Abi, funny lovelorn gal Ashley, and self-absorbed auteur Ryan.
Once off-road, however, Evidence stumbles off the generic narrative path and self-destructs in a cinematic splattering of shrill histrionics: irritating noises, grating computer data printouts, jarring hand-held camera jolts. All good and well, but, in their place – not as a substitute for an even semi-developed plot.
Ultimately, Evidence is just a sensory onslaught of visual and aural abrasions. At times, it's almost a parody of Filmmaking 101, where teenage students grind out technically facile but immature, story-challenged projects. There's also the desperation of shelling the story with a possible military conspiracy, once again never developed in writer/actor Ryan McCoy's heavy-in-all-the-elements story blender.
To its credit, Evidence does bound along with some neo-Corman audacity: A very cheap evil creature that resembles the top of an ape (A shrewd cost-cutting move to save dough on a full ape suit). It wouldn't take much to make this a sly parody of film skule projects, a la the mockumentary The Making of `And God Spoke.'
It's not all that clear why the film is titled Evidence, but, a la “Corman School,” it's only one word and could make for a cheaper, cleaner one-sheet. Again, you can't accuse the filmmakers of not knowing how to cut financial corners, but foregoing a proficient screenplay is a self-mutilation.
Tech credits are up to the demands of the teeny male demographic, and could get some play on the Internet or ultra-low budge' cable entities.
Hats off to Ryan McCoy for his acting: His turn as a callow, egotistical film student rings true. Among the other players, Brett Rosenberg possesses a screen presence that could vault him out of this sort of generic heap.
Venue: Cannes Film Festival, Market
Sales: Arsenal Pictures
Production companies: RynoRyder Prods
Cast: Ryan McCoy, Brett Rosernberg, Abigail Richie, Ashley Bracken
Director: Howie Askins
Screenwriter/producer: Ryan McCoy
Director of photography: Daniel Wall
No rating, 85 minutes.