Evidence DVD Review

Found footage films are generally pretty bad. Evidence tries to stand out from the crowd by putting a twist on the formula and creating a “new” genre of found footage films, but unfortunately that doesn’t make it a good movie.

The Plot 

The story opens with the police surveying a remote truck repair shop that’s littered with bodies. Several people have been brutally murdered and the police are trying to piece together what happened using multiple recording devices which have footage of the murders.

The Target 

Horror/thriller fans might be interested, if only to see how bad this film is.

The Bottom Line 

As I mentioned at the start of this review, Evidence does try to stand out from the crowd by creating a “movie within a movie” (movie-ception). This ties into a twist in the plot that unfortunately doesn’t make any sense at all, but before I continue with that let me stop and say: major spoilers below.

So the major twist in the movie is that the footage the cops are watching appears to be damaged footage found on various devices (cameras, cellphones, etc) found at the truck repair shop, but it’s not actually damaged. The killers have edited it to appear that it was damaged and to lead the cops in a certain direction so that they can escape. There’s only one (major) problem with this. The devices that are found are usually found in a damaged state (burnt in a fire or dropped for example). Now, even assuming the video footage wasn’t on these devices when these devices were damaged, how do the killer’s know the cops are going to watch all the recovered videos in a certain order? They don’t. The cops could decide to review the cellphone footage, which is shown later in the film, first, which immediately throws the structure of the entire plot out the window.

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Then there’s the fact that they are able to get enough of the shots they need to convince the cops that it was actually someone else who performed the killings. As someone who has worked on various student films, it’s hard enough to accomplish this using an entire crew of people who all have the same goal. I don’t buy the idea that the killers were able to get most of the shots they needed to create a functional narrative purely by chance, when I know how difficult it is to do to create a functional narrative even under ideal circumstances.

We also have two sets of characters which we don’t really care about. The first group who are the characters in the found footage scenes are your usual throw away stereotypes. Various good looking males and females with 2D personalities, all end up getting massacred and I’m expected to care? Maybe if there was any outstanding performances I might have cared a bit, but sadly there isn’t.

The other main characters, police detectives Burquez (played by Radha Mitchell) and Morris who are trying to decipher this case, are also about as interesting as the other characters. Mitchell has some kind of trauma which sees him returning to active duty to try and solve the case, but a less than stellar performance by Stephen Moyer and a weak script scuttle any chance of us giving a damn.

Burquez also doesn’t give us any reason to care for her, since she is pretty much a hard-ass in 99% of her scenes. I do feel sorry for Radha Mitchell. She seems to be a fairly competent actress who more often than not ends up in less than stellar movies, and it would be nice to see her getting more good material to work with.

Then there’s the cringe-worthy dialogue. I will admit being more clued up than the average pc user when it comes to pc jargon, but the writer for this script threw in “technical” terms that even the average user will realise are being used in the wrong context.

There’s the problematic opening shot, which is meant to look cool as the camera pans around a moment frozen in time, but I have to ask myself “What’s the point of it?”. You’ve put in this reasonably well done effects heavy shot but there’s absolutely no reason to put it there.

And then there’s the scene where the cops are getting all their gear together to start the investigation, which is meant to seem all hardcore and cool, but really just comes across as really, really cheesy.

In terms of the thrills and scares, there aren’t that many, and the film defaults to using Saw-esque gore to try and heighten the emotional moments. Unfortunately it’s toned down violence combined with characters that no-one cares about, so this fails to make any impact.

Evidence-screen-02

The effects are pretty good, but even with low budget horrors, it’s very rare that the makeup and effects work are bad enough to bring the film down.

Overall, I can only say that the “twist” is an interesting idea, but it fails to work since it relies on too many things unfolding perfectly. Taking into consideration how the story unfolds in the first few minutes of the film, this comes across as entirely unbelievable. The effects can’t make up for the rest of the films faults, and I would highly recommend you avoid this movie.