Evidence: Film Review

RLJ Entertainment
Formulaic plotting and murky visuals make this found-footage horror film a trying experience.

A pair of detectives attempts to solve the mystery of a brutal massacre in this found-footage-style horror film.

If you were running for your life while being chased by a homicidal fiend, would you take the time to thoughtfully record the events on your cell phone camera? Not likely, but that’s the absurd premise of Evidence, in which a pair of detectives attempts to solve the case of a hellacious massacre by watching the copious amounts of video footage shot by the victims.

Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, who exploited found-footage effects in his 2009 effort The Fourth Kind, the film centers on the investigation into a case involving a busload of young people who find themselves fighting for their lives after their bus crashes in the desert outside Las Vegas. Fortunately, Detectives Burquez (Radha Mitchell) and Reese (True Blood’s Stephen Moyer) have plenty of evidence to examine. Not forensic, mind you, but rather the victims’ recording of the events on their video cameras and cell phones.

Thus the action shifts back and forth between the two cops intently watching multiple monitors and the footage itself, much of which has been corrupted by fire, resulting in often distorted and indecipherable imagery.

It’s hard to decide which of the two perspectives is most tedious. Watching people watching screens isn’t very compelling, and the cops are complete stereotypes, with Mitchell’s hard-assed Burquez barking out lines on the order of, “I’m taking that prick straight to the chair!” and Moyer’s scruffy-faced, clearly traumatized Reese having been bounced from the force under mysterious circumstances.

But at least you can see what’s going on during those segments. The video footage begins with banal home movies featuring such characters as aspiring starlet Leann (Torrey DeVitto) and her best friend Rachel (Caitlin Stasey) before lapsing into scenes of carnage in which the killer, wearing a welder’s mask and wielding a blowtorch, picks off his victims one by one. The latter is all-too-realistically dark and jerky, with the murky action barely discernible. Whatever suspense that might have been generated by the violently gory goings-on is dissipated by the sheer visual incomprehensibility.

Opens: Friday, July 19 (RLJ Entertainment/Image Entertainment)

Production: Bold Films, FilmEngine, Marc Platt Productions

Cast: Stephen Moyer, Radha Mitchell, Torrey DeVitto, Caitlin Stasey

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Screenwriter: John Swetnam

Producers: David Lancaster, Michel Litvak, Marc Platt, Anthony Rhulen, Jeffrey Stott

Executive producers: Adam Siegel, Jake Wagner, Gary Michael Walters

Director of photography: Lukas Ettlin

Editor: Paul Covington

Production designer: Freddy Waff

Costume designer: Alexis Scott

Composer: Atli Orvarsson

Not rated, 94 minutes