GODFORSAKEN – Found Footage Review

One of the great sins I am finding with a lot of found footage films is the idea of creating so much of a tease that there’s no real way to pay it off. They are so desperate to make the movie exciting and interesting and scary that they don’t really think of how they’re going to tie it all up in the end. They create such a big balloon of expectation that it often bursts before you ever get any sort of an answer.

And sure, it’s not a bad thing to have questions when a film is over.

It’s not a bad thing to want more.

Bringing up more questions than you are either willing to answer or have answers for is a problem though. I don’t want to watch your dumb sequel you want to make to learn more. I am not here for the retirement plan.

Gimme some freakin’ answers.

GODFORSAKEN gives us a man returning home for the funeral of a young woman he knew in life. He is an aspiring filmmaker and has decided to bring his camera along for his trip and proceeds – tactlessly – to film as much as he can of the mourners, the deceased, and the church. While outside taking a breather the mourners pour screaming from the church. The man rushes to find out what is happening but no one answers. Inside he sees that the young woman has risen from death and is now wild like an animal and, after rushing at people aggressively, she disappears and is gone. Cut to the man returning to the town with two friends to document the story of the risen woman and the affect it is having on the town. No one has seen the woman since her disappearance but everyone is in fear of what she may be capable of and are frightened as to how she returned. When the risen woman re-appears and heals a friend of the filmmaker who had been unable to walk the man insists that she has come to heal everyone, if they will only follow her and believe in her. When the documentary group see the woman though, and the source of nourishment she requires, they begin to question just what exactly came back in the body of the dead young woman.

The premise here is pretty interesting and there are some glimmers of a dark and creepy story here. Unfortunately, the film plays the woman as a creature from the outset so you never once believe she may actually ‘be god’. I am sure it was an easy sell as far as marketing, and it does add an immediacy to the horror of it all. I think it could have been played a little better though.

I do get it, they show this ghoulish woman, covered in blood, and she mysteriously heals the people and they all buy into the idea that she is some sort of divine spirit, but the film needed more time to establish this. The town buys in really, really quickly, but hey, you know how superstitious towns are, right?

The acting in the film is hit and miss. It’s clear that this was a sort of community project and the moments with the crowds show that, but while the acting isn’t all great, none of it is awful and everyone does their best to sell the film and the drama.

The film does a good job of keeping to the found footage edict of having the film being all what is shot and not smoothed out or scored. As the film gets more chaotic the credibility of shooting ‘everything’ gets stretched, as most of these movies do, but they make it as if they are using it for light and to see in the dark so it works.

The big kick in the teeth for the film is that there’s a LOT to unpack in the third act and as things go crazy, and they really do, you lose the heart of the story. There are some heartrending moments in the story which are very well done but as things go off the rails, we needed a better explanation and deserved a better ending than we got. The ending isn’t bad but it feels obvious and still left me dissatisfied with the why of it all.

There is some creepy fun here though.

The idea is novel, and as things ramp up it really does go wild for the finale and reminded me a bit of the pacing of the end of REC.

While I didn’t care for the film, I admire that they got it made and got the whole town to participate and to go all in. That’s pretty great.

It’s worth a look for those seeking some new found footage as this is brand new, but don’t expect anything new or breathtaking.

Just go along for the wild ride it has to offer.

2 out of 5

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