There is something fascinating about found footage films and how they can capture a moment in time. Even as small as the fact that found footage is such an accessible point of entry for filmmakers just getting into making movies, it still captures that. Once upon a time it was gore films, or raunchy comedies that were the easier fare that would get eyes and return on investment. Now all you need is a camera phone and the makings of a story and you can put something together and release it. With a film like I AM HAUNTED you see how social media has changed, how many of us are now ‘selling our brand’, and how we don’t question someone filming themselves/or the things around them all the time.
Isn’t that wild?
I remember when BLAIR WITCH PROJECT came out and how people were incredulous at the idea of someone ‘shooting everything’. It seemed egotistical, vain, and unbelievable.
Look how things have changed.
Now people film themselves at all times and film everything they do so they can share it with their ‘followers’ and we think nothing of it.
Like I say, a time capsule.
With I AM HAUNTED you have the story of a young woman living in a small Canadian apartment as she starts to realize that something strange is going on. Her relationships are faltering. She is being shunned by everyone she knows. She is hearing and seeing things she cannot explain. She has no answers so she decides to record as much as she is able to share her experiences with others. What she begins to learn though is that a simple, childish prank by someone close to her may have unleashed something evil into her life.
As I try to say with movies like this, at this level, I admire them for making it. I say it a lot and I mean it. It’s incredibly hard, even with a more low key movie like this. The actors are trying their hardest. The film is effectively shot. There is no real disruption to the proceedings with music cues or things that don’t fit.
It all ‘works’.
Except it doesn’t.
This is a mess of a film.
There is no real direction the film is headed towards, it feels almost as if it was improvisational in how awkward it all is but it isn’t, it just feels meandering. As with a lot of these films we have no idea who the ‘audience’ is that the young woman is creating videos for, nor what sort of platform they are on. (It always surprises me when films don’t bother to tell you that sort of information because it lends to who the character is). There is a brattiness to the dialogue of the lead that makes her hard to invest yourself into. She vacillates between self-pity and anger and you wonder how on earth she is able to keep her apartment when she can’t get or keep a job. I don’t mean to bag on her though as the actress gives this her all. This is simply just a story that has no direction and nothing to say. We are shown creepy things but never learn what or who is doing them. We see a ‘ghost’ but are never given reason to fear it. We are shown strange actions by people – men stalking the woman, but are never given a reason as to what is going on. This purports to show a powerful ‘spirit’ but no work is done to give us a WHY about it. There’s a moment as the climax is unfolding where I thought we’d get a pretty wicked twist but we don’t, and the film plays out in an obvious way and is hard not to laugh at as the finale comes.
I don’t like bagging on movies.
It’s not fun for me.
People worked hard on this film.
This was someone’s baby and dream.
I get that.
I also get that there’s too little here to bother with.
When you see what can be done with minimalism – LEAVING D.C. is a great example of this – it is hard to invest yourself in a film that just wasn’t thoroughly developed.
Good for the folks that made it.
I know that lessons were learned and hopefully they will lead to better projects ahead.
As it stands, I wouldn’t bother with this one.
1 out of 5