The found footage genre is very hit-or-miss when it comes to my own taste. A lot of people just can't really do it, and that's something I understand. But if it's done creatively enough, I tend to really like quite a few of them - one of them being the now unbelievable 10-year-old 'Chronicle'; the found-footage take on obtaining superpowers for lack of a better term. And, funny story, two of these actors would go on to feature in mainstream Superhero movies.
As all found-footage movies go, our basic setup is seen from the get-go where our lead, Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan), decides he's going to film "everything" from now on. A good chunk of this is due to his abusive, alcoholic father, Richard (Michael Kelly) who blames Andrew for literally everything, including Andrew's mom, Karen's (Bo Peterson) illness. Andrew also gets bullied at school, but one has to admit that to some degree, he's not really the most likable person. But no worries, as this character was actually well-formed that way for good reason.
Andrew's cousin, Matt Garetty (Alex Russell) invites him to a party one night, in order to mingle and try to get himself out there, meeting people. There, things don't go too well, but he eventually meets Class President hopeful, Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan). Steve brings Andrew and his camera to meet up with Matt in order to explore a very mysterious cave that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Upon exploring, something unknown happens that seemingly leads the trio to obtain telekinesis.
One thing I do love about this movie is the way this power works. Things seem to come with limits, and it acts a lot like weight-lifting. The more they do it, the better they get, but if they overdo it, things result in a pretty bad nose-bleed. As they videotape all of the cool stuff they learn how to do throughout the film, things don't exactly go without incident, and soon enough we see the difference between having the power to help others and having the power to help oneself. If you gained such an ability yourself, would you abuse it if you were really good at it? Or would you only use it when and if it was asked for?
One word of warning I'll give about this, along with most found-footage films, is that there's really no explanation as to how they really got these abilities. Something happens, we don't know, and we're not meant to know. One thing I appreciate about this genre is the lack of explanation. One can use imagination to fill in the blanks, and to some degree, it almost doesn't make any sense to offer up an explanation, as we're supposed to be experiencing things through the eyes of the cameraman. I do get people being somewhat miffed about that, considering a lack of structure. But for me, found footage is almost meant to be more of a theme park ride experience than an actual solid film.
There are a few examples of found footage that I'd say are really well done, and I have to say that this is one of them. It's a fun and quick way to tell a superhero story while being original, but also offering up the two paths someone with special abilities can go down. It sort of begs the question of what one would do if they had this power. For me, I like the idea of using it for mischief. You're not being a good guy, but you're not exactly being a supervillain either. There's a whole bit here where you see them do just that, and though you feel kind of bad for the people they are messing with, it does give one a pretty good chuckle.
As for the two who went on to star in mainstream superhero movies, Michael B. Jordan is likely the obvious one, as Killmonger in 'Black Panther' AND Human Torch in 2015's 'Fantastic Four'. Dane DeHaan also went on to be a crappy version of the Green Goblin in 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'. But what's odd is that Alex Russell doesn't seem to (unless I missed something) have credit for anything like that. The guy has potential though, so we shall see if he gets added to anything in the near future. Anyway, if you ever wanted to see where at least Michael B. Jordan came from, this is an interesting watch nowadays. If nothing else, it's a cool take on not only the found-footage genre, but the superhero genre as well.
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