Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Easily accessible horror movie, uncomfortably influenced by 9/11, and told entirely through the principle character's video-camera.

That's always a challenge. I mean, how often have we seen a big-budget movie over-produce a camcorder sequence and wind-up with footage that looks quite unreal?

Many of the usual mistakes are dutifully included here, most consistently the incredibly sharp audio. Either everyone who Hud films is helpfully wearing a radiomike, or he got them all back later to redub their lines. In the scene in the looted shop, all present helpfully fall silent so that we can hear Beth's voice-message playing through Rob's mobile.

On the plus side, the handheld camera-movements looked completely authentic to me, even if the composition of some angles was a little cinematic. (the opening shots pan past framed photographs of family-members, Marlena manages to die in silhouette)

In fact, once I'd managed to get past this central conceit, I found the atmosphere of the whole thing compelling. The entire cast was flawless. After the film was over, I was in no doubt of the sequence of events that our heroes had been through, right down to the geography. I'm afraid I was lost as to who some of the characters were and how they related to each other, but that didn't seem to matter too much.

I still don't know what the title refers to either, but that likewise doesn't seem too pivotal.

Perhaps, for me, this film's most impressive accomplishment is simply that, by the end, I had really enjoyed it.

After all, I don't generally like horror movies, but I did get into this.

(with thanks to Herschel)


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