It’s interesting to look at found footage films and to see that the trend translated to other countries and was interpreted via the lens of their culture. This is where you get a film like NOROI and what it says and how it says it is vastly different than the possession/demon found footage you find in the States. It’s fascinating to think you can learn about a culture and their beliefs via something as simple as a found footage film, but you can.
You can’t take it as a 1:1 because heck, let’s be real honest here, as much as I love PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, I don’t know anyone living as bougie as those folks did at that age. In the same vein, we get a lot of rural movies about cults and the like and, come on, we know better than to think that these countries are like this, right?
We don’t think that other countries are all cults and weird religions and ancient demons.
Or maybe we do.
Here though, we have INCANTATION, a film set firmly in that old religion and demons vein and the dark tunnels those open.
INCANTATION opens with a woman starting a personal video diary to record her life as she goes to pick up her daughter ‘Dodo’. The woman had had a mental breakdown as she was pregnant with her daughter and had to give her up as she dealt with it. Now that she feels more in control, she is trying to reconnect with her daughter and take her back. What she doesn’t anticipate though is that the very thing that had pushed the mother over the edge has not disappeared but was patiently waiting for their time to return for what they wanted – her daughter. What had begun as simple chronicle of this new beginning of a mother and daughter has suddenly taken on the documentation of a dangerous haunting that may drive this young mother far beyond simple insanity.
This is a Thai film and is super creepy and fun. We’ve seen many of the tropes before but this is handled in a straight faced way with no winking or attempts at humor. They want to scare you, plain and simple. The use of the found footage works very well and has a reason – though there’s a point where you ask – wait, who compiled this ‘other’ footage we see and why? – but if you don’t let yourself get too caught up with that you’ll have fun with this. Lots of creeps. A moment of genuine heart in throat terror. Some great jump scares. A creepy story. It’s all good with good acting and camera work to boot.
This is a low key film that is more interested in brooding atmosphere than giant scares but the scares are there and there are sequences where it’s all creeps and crawls.
I will say that we HAVE seen films like this before, many times before. It echoes aspects of NOROI and RINGU as well as others. The remote village that is up to shenanigans schtick is about as hoary as the backwoods town that doesn’t trust city folk thing but it works here. As long as the film is I would have liked some more deep diving into some of the things and there are moments where it sets up something – a scary arm reaching out in a video to grab the girl – that never returns. This is a solid movie though that is definitely higher echelon on that second tier of good but not great found footage films.
Definitely worth a look for fans of the subgenre and who want something creepy and new.
3.5 out of 5.
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