Director: Howie Askins
Starring: Ryan McCoy, Brett Rosenberg, Ashley Brack, Toby Bryant, Abigail Richie .USA. 1h 18m
Small budget aside this imaginative found footage movie actually outdoes some of the more costly attempts to freak out audiences, with its stereotypical beginnings it ramps up the psychotropic madness as it’s survivors run a gauntlet of terror that’s totally unexpected and wholesomely different and that alone; is worth the wait as this simple but highly effective story plays out.
Howie Askins’s debut Devil Girl (2007) didn’t leave a great lasting impression on its audience, the attempt to revise the ultimate horror road movie with buxom chicks just didn’t pique much interest, sadly the 9/10 review on IMDb comes from someone with the username howieaskins .. funny that.
Feeling like a classic found footage in it’s opening, a group of plucky young vibrant friends attempt to film a documentary about one of their group, ??? () his best friend, and their girlfriends hop along for a romp in the woods until they begin to notice a strange howling in the night and spot a hairy bodied entity near a stream but before you mistake this as yet another bigfoot movie, buckle up things are going to get a lot weirder.
It’s pretty easy to dismiss Evidence as just another bog standard found footie flick, but it refuses to fall into the tropes for it’s entirety, the average dumbasses wandering around the woods quickly exhausts itself when one of the lads who’s’ determined to get to the truth wanders off, leaving the rest of the group to fend for themselves, torn between leaving and getting help and finding him, they flounder and dig in for the night. But that’s when everything goes terribly wrong. The pace really picks up as the girls have to make a mad dash with the cam corder as a light source which also doubles up as a recording of evidence of a wild and disturbing gauntlet with many twists and turns. At times it feels like the end of As Above So Below (2014) with random weirdness coming at the survivors randomly and viciously, but it’s edge is more like Cabin in the Woods (2011) as there’s a big conspiracy undercurrent, but at least it wasn’t hysteria.
The main cast are pretty flat until they are running for their lives. Mundane conversations turn into wailing and screaming, but once the first sighting is made the movie quickly goes into overdrive and manages to maintain the space that new thrills for quite some time and the shaky cam is just about manageable in terms of it’s not hysterically thrown around for the sake of it. They do manage to capture some fairly interesting scenes it’s not all special effects either, just the placing of strange naked people in the woods, Askins really understand how to add mystery by adding in odd disturbing characters, a masked man in a chair can sometimes be enough.
The big reveal feels a little contrived at first but in reflection it is a welcome shift in direction and some half decent thrills and chills come from it. Things could have gotten off to full throttle earlier on and it would have left more audiences less bummed out but it’s ability to hit on all the conspiracies like running through a few hundred SCP’s while not committing is just one of it’s charms, unrealistic but quite compelling Found Footage, one golden from a genre that can do a lot worse,
R: Chernobyl Diaries (2012) As Above So Below (2014) , Hoax (2019), Monkey Farm (2017)
L: A-Z of Found Footage Films
A; The AOFA Brief History and Introduction to Found Footage Cinema