Movie: **** out of 5
Article first published as DVD Review: ‘Found.” on Blogcritics.
Considering that Halloween is basically an entire month leading up to
one day, you’d think there’d be more spooky offerings in theaters. This
year has more than usual with Annabelle, The Boxtrolls, The Book of Life, Ouija, and Horns.
But for those who want something a little more visceral, director Scott
Schirmer and author Todd Rigney have adapted Rigney’s novel Found
into a horror film that delivers the goods in both creepy atmosphere
and balls-out gore. After making the festival rounds for two years, The
October People and Xlrator Media are releasing Found on DVD September 23.
(Gavin Brown), is a fifth-grader to whom horror fans can relate. He
loves horror movies, and has posters hanging up in his room for
everything from Wild Zero and Popcorn to Street Trash and Without Warning.
His older brother Steve (Ethan Philbeck) is the typical anti-social
angsty teen who can’t stand his parents (Phyllis Munro and Louie
Lawless). But Steve has a killer secret that only Marty knows: he’s a
serial killer. He keeps the head of his latest victim in a bowling bag
in his closet, and Marty is willing to keep his brother’s secret because
Steve assures him that he’d never hurt him.
Their mom thinks horror movies are rotting her kids’ brains, while
dad likes to secretly take Marty to see zombie movies at the local
cinema. One day, Marty is browsing the video store and wants to rent a
movie called Headless, but the case is empty. He finds the tape
in Steve’s room and decides to watch it with his only friend David
(Alex Kogin). When David makes fun of Marty for being scared, Marty
decides to show him something really scary. From here on, brotherly love
takes on darker tones after domestic violence brings about an ending
only a horror film could pull off.
Found comes with an assortment of special features including two short films which are used as movies-within-the-movie. Headless
(24:50) is unbearable — it is however, extremely effective within the
context of the film. It’s been announced that thanks to a Kickstarter
campaign it will be made into a full length feature. Deep Dwellers
(6:21) is a little more fun, keeping the running time scant and is a
nice throwback to the early days of Roger Corman. The most interesting
thing about Headless, is that this is where the most violent parts of Found are, well, found. The film’s trailer is included, as is an audio commentary featuring Schirmer and Rigney.
Schirmer makes the most of his almost non-existent budget, casting
his teen leads who give their all to their tortured characters.
Especially Philbeck, who literally lets it all hang out when the shit
finally hits the fan. The adults don’t fare so well. Found
hangs on the dynamic of Brown and Philbeck who carry the film admirably.
There are unspeakable acts that take place throughout, and the age-old
question of does a horror film create psychopaths is up for debate.
Bigotry and bullying are also touched on, along with domestic violence. Found
should hopefully find an audience on home video where it’ll be far
easier for horror aficionados to get their hands on it, as they should. I
highly recommended it for those with strong stomachs and anyone who
might want a little more from their horror movies than loud noises.