Director: Patrick Brice
Writer: Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass
Starring: Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass
This film starts off with a videographer, Patrick Brice, coming to a cabin. He is a little leery about it, but none the less goes up to the door. He knocks at it, but no one answers at first. He looks over the railing and sees an ax. He goes back down to his car to call the number he has for contact. He then meets the man who hired him, Mark Duplass. He convinces him to come up to the house.
There we learn what the job is supposed to be. Duplass states he has cancer and his wife is pregnant. He wants to do like Michael Keaton did in My Life and record a diary to give to his unborn child. Duplass had just gotten back from a run and needs to take a bath. He has Brice join him, filming him in the tub. He acts how he would if he was going to bath his new child.
Duplass then wants to go on a hike to show Brice something. There is an awkward scene of Brice checking in a closet to find a wolf’s head mask. Duplass tells him an odd story of how his wife and him were having a rough patch and he raped her while wearing this mask. It saved their marriage.
They go for the hike where there is an odd rock formation that is shaped like a heart. Duplass scares Brice a couple of times while being on this excursion. There is a moment as well where Duplass writes their initials and puts a heart around it. Duplass asks if he is hungry and they go to a local diner that is supposed to have great pancakes. Once there, it seems like Duplass has never been this to place before.
It is dark when they get back to the house and Duplass convinces Brice to come in for a drink of whiskey. Brice reluctantly agrees. Duplass becomes quite a bit different, not wanting Brice to leave. Brice actually drugs his drink and answers Duplass’ phone. He learns that this guy isn’t exactly who he seems to be. Also he can’t find his car keys.
What is up with Duplass? Who is he really? What is his endgame?
Now I have to say, I heard a lot about this film and was intrigued to check it out. At the time of writing this, I knew there was a sequel out, so that also made me want to see this one first. I found the background story to this film interesting. The director and writer is Brice. Duplass also co-wrote this, but only in the sense that this film is all improvised. Something else interesting is that the film wasn’t intended to be a horror film, but that was the route they went with it. I really like the concept of this film, but it makes a lot more sense by the end that film developed into what it did and didn’t start there. I liked how it played it out, as it is creepy and quite realistic. I feel it had some issues in the middle of it though.
The acting of the film was interesting to me. I felt that Duplass killed it in this film. His acting was great. His character comes off an unbalanced from the beginning, but you kind of feel bad for him. You don’t necessarily think he is psychotic. It does come off that he could be just socially awkward and lonely. The reveal isn’t a surprise, but it is acted very good. Brice I wasn’t as impressed with. I don’t think he did badly, but his character just wasn’t as good to me.
There isn’t much in the way of effects in this film, but the only one we have is filmed in a way where it is done practical. It looks real which definitely helps a film like this. This is filmed in found footage style. That also helps the realism because I could see something like this really happening. That makes it scary to me. The editing of the film was alright. I felt that this film being improvised kind of meanders in the middle. It doesn’t start to build tension until a little bit too late in the film. There isn’t a soundtrack, but that adds to the realism so no issues there for me.
Now with that said, I thought this film was above average. I thought the concept of the film was very realistic and that makes it scary. Something like this could definitely happen. Duplass was amazing in this film. I was very impressed. Brice wasn’t bad in the supporting role. This is interesting in that there are only two characters. There really only is one effect in the film and it was good. The editing had some pacing issues, but I did like the reveal. There isn’t a soundtrack which makes the found footage aspect more real. If you like this type of film, I’d give it a viewing. It definitely isn’t the best, but still quite enjoyable.
My Rating: 7 out of 10