Any time I am given something a little different in a found footage film I get a little excited. So often we get the same pretty young people doing something they shouldn’t and suffering the consequences. Of late they are influencers trying to make a name for themselves by walk to deep into the dark. For a while it was woods, then it was houses, then it was abandoned buildings, and on and on. Found footage is full of ruts and folks trying to make a quick buck making what they believe is an easy commodity.
I get it and I can’t argue with that.
It doesn’t take a big cast, it doesn’t need a lot of special effects.
It takes a person, a camera, and a ‘why’ as to why things are happening, and oh, you should stick the to the rules (no music and someone should be able to ‘find’ the footage).
Wash, rinse, repeat.
It’s nice when you get something different though, and with DAY OF DISAPPEARANCE you are given a found footage film not just in Hawaii (!!) but also involving (a little bit) the idea of the deep supernatural history and lore of the islands.
With DAY OF DISAPPEARANCE we have a young man just getting into vlogging. He has decided that since he is starting a new life on his own in Hawaii he wants to chronicle things. He’s surprised that anyone cares to watch, and is happy to keep feeding those viewers. As he gets into the habit of filming he starts to go on adventures and take along his camera to capture everything. The vlogs are awkward, the trips are a little forced, but you can see that the man is starting to warm up and get used to being on film. On one of his excursions he heads into a cave and finds a bag left hanging within and decides to take it with him. Once he does that he seems to catch the attention of something that begins to appear in the background of his videos thereafter and starts to make its presence known. He is warned to leave while he can but when he finds out that whatever it is that he has attracted knows something of what happened to his father, who died while he was a boy, he decides to continue own, heedless of the warnings and his own safety.
It was great to see a found footage film made in Hawaii. Much like a recent one I saw from Barbados, it’s great to see more of the world in this subgenre. While we don’t see a lot of the islands, we do get a flavor of it, and it’s lovely. There are some GREAT gags here, with a wonderfully realized…whatever it is that’s haunting the guy. It’s super well done and creepy, no matter how many times you see it or for how long. *Shiver*. The actor gives a very naturalistic performance and while he isn’t great, he seems genuine and unforced. He doesn’t feel like an actor.
AND I LOVE that they keep the ‘gag’ going the entire movie, acting as if this really happened, was really put on the ‘tube and really happened.
Alas, the movie is too long, its lore gets confusing, there are moments of – who the heck is shooting this – and there are a couple of segments that go too far and that don’t help the film. One is a scene of cutting that goes way too long and is needlessly real and doesn’t do anything but get a cheap grossout. The other is a scene that implies strongly a real grave robbing, and while it has to be faked – it shows the beginning then cuts to an angle that cuts out what he is really digging, it’s very dodgy taste since it seems to be at a real cemetery at first.
The film is well made, it generally keeps to things well, and there are some genuine scares here. It really does feel way too long though and it seems to lose sight of its story and makes things needlessly complicated. Some great stuff but a lame ending just derails things.
It’s watchable, it’s decent, and it’s almost worth it for ‘U’, the haunter of the film. There needed to be more lore done in a better way if they were going to go that hard for it, but hey, it is what it is.
Worth a look for the hardcore folks like me, but otherwise, it may be one you can bypass.
2.25 out of 5