The world needs more Cinema Verite-style Found Footage flicks, don't you think? Neither do we, but alas, it seems as if the glut of shaky-cam madness is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Some of it works some of the time, but for the most part this sub-genre already feels as if its played itself out.
Some, no, most Found Footage/POV/Hand Held horror movies, just fall flat. We'll get into why that is at a later date, but for now, we have two new Cinema Verite movies to talk about. Woo. Right?
aka The Asylum Tapes, Greystone Park is the feature film debut of Oliver Stone's son, Sean. Apparently, the plot is based on a real event where Stone Jr. and the other guy in the movie broke into this old deserted asylum, got creeped out, and decided to make a movie about it.
After watching a few interviews with Sean Stone, I've come to the conclusion that he's either insane or on peyote, or both. He's all about conspiracy theories, he's sure that Satanic Cults have been after him and his friends, and he's seen people possessed by demons before, so... whatever. Was the movie good or not, right?
The story is just about the same as most other FF flicks of this kind: "A group of friends head to an old abandoned _________ to investigate rumors of paranormal shenanigans, and shit goes wrong. Real wrong." That's the general template, and it's definitely at work here.
There's nothing original about the premise of this movie, or the execution for that matter. We will however give some credit to the fact that this movie was actually based on real events (kind of), and so at least the filmmakers "experienced" some of what we see on screen, and it's not all just made up slop. There's a bit of truth to some of the story elements. Fine.
|This may have actually happened.|
Overall, the movie was well made, for what it is. Sean Stone has a prolific filmmaker for a Dad, so it's natural that he got some good advice and learned about movie making since he was a kid. It shows, here and there, and for a cheap movie, it looks and feels a notch or two better than others of its kind.
|She was a cutie. Bonus.|
Like nearly every single Found Footage flick before it though, Greystone Park is devoid of any characters with common sense in their heads, which of course prompts them to explore every creepy passageway in this incredibly creepy hospital, even when it's apparent that they aren't alone. The shaky cam thing is getting very old too. I'm almost to the point where I don't want to watch anything involving a hand held camera anymore. Not only is it annoying and even maddening at times, but I'm convinced that it's just a way for "film makers" to be lazy and not have to frame shots. Or frame a plot, for that matter.
Anywho, if you can stomach the tried and true formula involving morons who run around places they shouldn't be, all the while making poor decisions and filming everything that they do all seizure-style, then this one may work for you. It has some cool moments and some scares here and there.
|That was fairly creepy.|
Knock Knock 2 is an apparent sequel (?!?) of a Lionsgate movie called Knock Knock, and neither movie has anything to do with each other aside from their titles, and an eye looking through a peephole on both of the movie's posters... which I'm sure is bound to upset the 17 people that actually saw that suck job of a movie. The first one, I mean. Or the sequel, because that one sucked too...
Whereas Greystone Park was a halfway decent attempt at a Found Footage flick, Knock Knock 2 is an uneventful mess of a movie about some wacky pranksters driving around in the middle of the night, on a "map-of-the-stars-homes" type quest to find haunted houses.
Like, houses in which people now live, that were supposedly haunted at one point or another. They read the map and say "Oh, let's go to this one!" Then they find the house, run around on the grass or peek in the windows, the run away because "OMG, that was crazy!"
The whole time I was waiting for someone to call the cops on these fucktards, so that they'd stop bothering people in the middle of the night as they tried to sleep, and also so I'd stop being pissed off that I was watching it all happen. No one gets arrested though, and by the end of the movie, they actually make it to the house from the trailer, 1666 something (clever), and find themselves locked in by (haunted?) plywood and nails.
|Hey, brainiacs... start with the little boards, then try to loosen the big one. Or maybe find a man to help you escape.|
The big issue with people making cheap movies like this, is that because they have no budget, they have to rely on atmosphere and characterization more than most films, and they tend to fail in both of those departments. I should have known what was coming from the start when we're treated to a couple going to the beach, setting the camera in the sand, walking halfway down the beach, and then stood there talking to each other. No sound, barely any visuals, just us sitting there watching people halfway down a beach form our POV, talking.
Never fear though, because we do get four people talking, reading, driving around together while talking and reading, and talking. Also reading. For an hour. Nothing happens for so long in this movie, that by the time the characters get somewhere where something should finally happen, more nothing happens, and we're left wondering what in the hell just happened.
New rule- Anyone who makes a Found Footage flick from here on out has to disappear like their characters, never to be heard from again, if their movie ends up sucking. And I mean gone, like vanished.That ought to make people think twice before churning out this kind of crappola from now on.