Starring. Jane Elizabeth Barry, David Macrae, Geoff Pinfield. Australia.1h 24m
A majorly flawed found footage movie that has a few cult style frights and thrills to offer but some mistakes just can’t be overlooked.
Starting unassumingly with a small crew making a documentary at an AA/Drugs Rehab meeting, they chance upon a striking individual who claimed that he escaped from a doomsday cult isolated on a remote farm, realising that this story would be more exciting the team embark to the rural cult’s home to investigate the bizarre group and their end of days prophecies. The strangeness of the cult is soon put aside when the team attempt to save one of the members and themselves, as it’s clear that the world isn’t going to end or is it?
I had to try and spice up the plot after damming the movie in the first line. I did really enjoy the film but the ending was such a let down for myself, but that’s just me, it wouldn’t stop me from watching it again just due to the bat shit crazy events and fucked up social experiment that is exposed in the movie.
Once the team get close to the camp they have to travel on foot and eventually find a few individuals living in an Amish style existence (only in terms of no electricity and constant prayer type of thing, no kick bikes or beards here). The main prophet/cult leader/father figure Michael Godson (David Macrae) who is always dressed in immaculate white, has several wives and children and some are hinted at also being his sexual partners too and if that wasn’t enough there seem to be some interesting activity going on including, tying the youngster to trees, encouraging speaking in tongues and screaming and a potential mass suicide plot, the film crew just can’t sit by and have to do something. But trying to get pass the euphoria of the group is almost impossible just how far into this theory are they going to have to be drawn to save themselves and the women.
I’m sure there is some message about women and their place in religion and society, this mogul who soon banished all men from his group to keep all the chicks to himself is a massively controlling perve and is portrayed as an enigmatic weirdo in this stark found footage film. Shaky cams and abrupt cuts lead us through this tangled story, quite soon after the arrival at the cult, one of the cameramen becomes emotionally attached to one of the young girls and starts filming her alone, so we switch between his take on things as well as the main crew looking at the bigger picture.
The acting and characters are quite notable; the awkward and difficult scenes are handled well. There is a large degree of obligatory shaky cam which is kept at a minimum as the camera is often placed on a stationary item and there are no disturbing aspects that are blurred at a pivotal moment like in some of the exorcism films, so there is no guessing what’s really happening. There are a lot of false jump scared and the plot is constantly leading to something that never comes but the tension does build until the shit hits the fan in a calamity of madness near the end, which is worth the wait.
It’s going to be distressing as there are a number of these cults in history and I’m sure moms and dads will get incredibly parental as there are some very young children involved. Overall the look and feel is depressing and dreary in this swampy backwoods of the outback. Obvious ties to Blair Witch (1999) will be made and I hate saying this as it’s the first thing everyone says when they mention found footage but the occult/cult/forest/children/ thing is just too strong here. It’s incredibly deep in respect to the minds and attitudes of the filming crew vs the profound beliefs of the cult, it’s literally like two species colliding, the young girls in the cult really don’t care for “our” world and the team want to pull them into the 21st century but hold back to observe until things start to go terribly wrong. There are some tough conversations and while the film crew attempt to be polite they are obviously bullshitting the ideas of the cult.
It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re interested in found footage movies and I’ll go into my thoughts and try not to rant about the ending too much in the post description. Otherwise it’s very dark and a creepy stuff, but sadly not a huge amount of “new” material and ideas being brought to arena. The ending fails all over the show but if you don’t apply logic it just remains shocking. For me the
R – Hollows Grove (2014)
L – A-Z of Found Footage, 10 of my favourite Found Footage.