File Under – No, this isn’t for real life. This is a movie. There ya go.
So here’s me the other day, uncertain what to watch and figuring that I’ll browse the horror offerings on Tubi. I have watched stuff on there a few times but have never really dug deep into the library.
Can I tell you that I scrolled for over a half and hour and still didn’t make it to the end of them?
Saying that, that means you’re getting everything, from bigger blockbuster titles to the movies that someone just shot with the help of some friends. It really is both feast AND famine.
I am on a strange movie watching path of late and am watching a LOT of found footage style movies. I have always had a soft spot for this stuff but there are so many of them streaming on one service or another that I feel compelled to keep digging into the proverbial bins to see what I can find.
VIDEO-X is one of the random found footage films I have comr across, a movie I have never seen one word about previously but which I thought I’d watch out of curiosity.
Boy was I surprised.
VIDEO-X is the story of young couple Dwayne and DarlaJean, as they start their new lives together. Using a camera Dwayne has ‘acquired’ we join the two as they run away from the trailer park where they both live and DarlaJean’s parents. From the outset we see the highs and lows of the couple as they bicker and argue one moment then dote on another the next. This is young, dumb, idealistic love, and it’s dangerous. When the two stop to park at a campsite over night before heading out towards a campground that Dwayne went to in his youth, they meet a trio of people who are also on the road and are curious about the couple. The next day DarlaJean and Dwayne leave their car unattended as they wander the campground and return to find all of their belongings and money has been stolen. Dwayne is outraged, and insists it was the family they had met the night before while DarlaJean isn’t so sure. What is sure is that they have nothing now and the only help the manager of the camground can offer is to tell them they should head home or ask someone from home for a loan. DarlaJean is underage we find out though and the last thing Dwayne is willing to do is to go home and look like a failure, instead he hatches a plan to steal some food from a convenience store to tide them over as they figure things out. As they are checking out with one item the store’s owner accuses Dwayne of theft and the two get into a scuffle and the man ends up shot with his own gun accientally and suddenly these two young people are on the run and now they have a gun. When the two meet a man who is on the road just like them, they forge and ueasy friendship with him and make a pact to work together to get the money they all need, and that’s when they become dangerous.
I have to admit, I was floored at how good the acting was here. The leads have a natural chemistry that really keeps the film afloat and propels it forward. Yes, the bickering can get tiresome but that’s not because it’s unreal but because many of us have seen this or been like this. Honestly, for a movie that looks like it has next to no budget, this is a really solidly acted film that only starts to fray when you get to the background actors or folks with less impact on the movie.
The other really glowing thing I can say is that this film gets what I always say about these sorts of movies – know your budget and live within it. They knew they had limited resources and they use them to the best and work around what they can’t do. The film is wonderfully blocked so that even a sex scene that is capture is not full on camera so that you don’t see anything but the illusion they are trying to create holds up. That sort of care is given to the entire film. Sure, the kills in the movie don’t seem ‘real’ (which, SHOCK!) but are handled in a way that makes them still impactful.
While there are obvious questions one can pose – how are they charging the camera? – you are really nitpicking to have a huge issue with the film. Sure, it won’t be for most folks, especially since this is crime thriller and not the usual horror found footage, but the movie just works. It’s certainly not a FUN movie but it is well made, well acted, and it sticks to the format and limitations, ergo, they follow the inherent rules of the subgenre.
This is one of those outlier films I NEVER had heard of or would have watched had I not found it by chance but it’s a solid effort, and worth the time of those fans of found footage that want to see something new and relatively good. Yeah, the bickering is a pain, and there are moments of violence that are dodgy, but again, the movie works, and at this level, and on this budget, they really show what you can do if you put your mind to it.
3 out of 5
A super decent effort and worth a look for fans of found footage. — I found this on Tubi, by the by.
There’s also a follow-up film ABOUT the case that’s pretty fun – https://wordpress.com/post/spookychris.com/8470
Hey I write books, give them a look!