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Monday, April 25, 2016

Found (2012) Horror Serial Killer

Found (2012) - A great start, a voice over of a twelve year old Marty (Gavin Brown) explaining how he first discovered the head in the bowling bag in his older brother Steve's room. How the head in the bag changes and that his brother is a serial killer. He wonders if his Steve would kill him if he knew Marty was aware of the heads, probably yes he surmises in his twelve year old mind. If Steve (Ethan Philbeck) is a serial killer he must be crazy he supposes.  So then how does one become a serial killer? The family has its problems above and beyond the fact that Steve is keeping heads in his closet. So much dysfunction they have regular arguments that quickly become shouting matches. This is a very cool premise that is out front from the opening of the film. What do you do if you are a kid and find out your brother is a serial killer?
  This being a family drama that has that premise we have to build the characters up before anything can be resolved. There is the paternal older son conflict so common in families, with the father (Louie Lawless) and Steve struggling with the power dynamics as the younger man comes into his own autonomy. Steve should probably have moved out already but hasn't and we see the larger conflicts blowing up regularly. Marty struggling at school being bullied and wishing for a more stable environment at home. He is a timid kid who is afraid to stand up for himself. Marty talks about his family's secrets in his voice over. Everyone has their private things and nobody likes having their secrets exposed. Mom's (Phyllis Munro) saved love letters from a past lover, Dad's dirty magazines he keeps in the garage, Steve's head in his closet, you know the stuff that goes on in all families.  When Steve learns that Marty is picked on in school by a bully named Marcus (Edward Jackson), he actually is pretty good about supporting his brother and talking to him about not being the kid that is picked on. You can also guess what is probably going to happen to the kid. Through these scenes we see how flawed the family is but maybe not flawed enough to make a serial killer? The two boys though seem to have a good relationship better where even though Steve is a bit off his rocker he trries to lead his little brother to defend himself. Martyand his one sort of friend David
(Alex Kogan) meet at is an old horror attraction, the horror films they talk about and the collection of videos the brothers have. These features show the film makers are really into horror. The horrors of Marty's life are a driving force in a horror fascination but really does he need in his life is the question. We are asked to look at the connection between horror films and the idea of the real thing. Marty encapsulates the struggle through his knowledge of Steve. We see this so explicitly when he and David are watching the movie headless. A film his brother stole from the video store and has in his private collection. As the killer in that film tortures maims and kills a woman and then sexually defiles the head, Marty imagines his brother as the killer. The on the nose voice over at this point takes away from the emotional impact of the scene. We are given this glimpse of a the idea of does horror create the killers but there is strong enough family dynamic to believe horror is the escape not the cause.
There are some cool elements in the film, the posters on Marty's and Steve's rooms, the video store they go to seems to have a great selection, and even the father loves horror films.
  The predictable kid drama with the inevitable showing of Marcus's head to David and Steve finding out about it turns the film in a new direction. Will Steve kill David, Marty, everyone? Will he recruit his little brother? At this point the film should start picking up steam but will it? "You really fucked up kiddo, you really fucked up." says Steve to his little brother. Now a dread settles in to Marty as he worries about what will happen next. Unfortunately Director Scott Schirmer has made a character driven film like this has a tendency to linger on the characters and here we get symbolism of childhood ending, the letting go of past things and starting anew. The melancholy music is symbolic of the problem here, it does not quite fit the film sort of like it is a boxed and could be used on any film. There is nothing particularly wrong with it but it's just not quite right either. Marty transforms but it does not help the pacing of the film, each time the tension is raised we get a quiet scene behind after it that blunts instead of builds. Much like the voice over which is just a bit too on the nose at times so it pulls away from the drama happening on screen.
Overall the film works with the above reservations because the Marty, Steve dynamic works for the most part. Marty is the focal point of the film and I appreciated that he remained the character we are seeing the story through. So often the killer is the eyes of the story there was probably a risk of the focus shifting. Instead we get Marty's response to his brother's behavior which seemed more consistent with the early parts of the film. The off screen kills are a let down I guess budgets kept that from being a thing, but the intensity of the brothers shared scenes make the film successful. When all is said and done it is a competent interesting take on the serial killer shown through family dynamics and a brother to brother bond. Not perfect but certainly worth the watch.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back. Lastt week Corin Hardy director of the wonderful film Hallow followed me back, Thanks for that and your great film. It really is an experiment and where I love the horror community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people involved in it.  I am now following over 130 people while the followers is only 15 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)  
  

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