31 Days Of Horror #16: Found (2012)
Gavin Brown plays Marty, a young boy who loves horror movies and idolises his older brother, Steve (Ethan Philbeck). This leads to some conflicting emotions when he finds out that Steve is a serial killer, and he likes to keep an occasional severed head in his bowling ball bag. Does this mean that Marty is in any danger? Or can he learn lessons from his brother that will help him deal with his own problems?
Based on the novel by Todd Rigney, who helped to craft the screenplay with director Scott Schirmer, Found is an enjoyable, modern twist on the classic slasher movie. The script has a few clever ideas, as well as numerous nods to other movies, and there’s a bonus, gory “movie within a movie” to further satisfy gorehounds (Headless, which proved so popular that it was subsequently developed into a feature film). It’s just a shame that there are a few scenes that feel a bit too meandering, affecting the pacing of the entire film and stopping the whole thing from being as powerful as it could be. Trim it here and there, especially in the first and second act, sharpen up the dialogue a bit, and you’d have a very good film.
The other aspect that could easily be improved is the acting. Brown isn’t terrible in his role. He’s just not great, yet he’s probably the best of the main cast. Philbeck gets away with his weak dialogue delivery thanks to the nature of his character, but Phyllis Munro and Louie Lawless, playing the parents of the boys, don’t fare so well. It’s hard to think of a version of the film without them involved that wouldn’t be a better viewing experience, sorry to say.
A lot of horror fans have taken this little film into their hearts. It’s at least something a bit different, while also providing some familiar blood and guts for those seeking out the red stuff. You can’t fault Schirmer for his approach to the moments of actual horror. He also does quite well to make good use of what must have been a fairly limited budget, from what I could see. All that’s lacking is a bit of extra polish in the writing and acting departments, but that is enough to change my final thoughts on it; what could have been a good film is turned into one that is just okay. That, however, won’t stop me from checking out Headless at some point, or anything else that Schirmer puts his name to in the future.
DIRECTOR: SCOTT SCHIRMER
WRITER: SCOTT SCHIRMER, TODD RIGNEY (BASED ON THE NOVEL BY TODD RIGNEY)
STARS: GAVIN BROWN, ETHAN PHILBECK, PHYLLIS MUNRO, LOUIE LAWLESS
RUNTIME: 103 MINS APPROX