November 6, 2014 Mockingbird (Movie Review)
Mockingbird is a Found Footage style Horror film that was released as Video On Demand on Oct 7th and then became available on DVD and Blu-Ray on Oct 21st. It was produced by Jason Blum who hit big with Paranormal Activity (2007) and has since produced numerous Horror films including Sinister, The Insidious series, Dark Skies, Oculus, The Purge series, and many more. It was Written and Directed by Bryan Bertino who’s only other film is the very well-received The Strangers (2008).
The film follows the events that take place in 1995 when three different households receive a package containing a video camera inside that they think they have won from a contest they entered while at the mall. The first household is a family which is comprised of a mom, step-dad, and her two daughters around the ages of seven to nine. The second house is a single female who appears to live alone and the third is an underachiever who lives with his mom and is very apt to participate in whatever instructions have come with the camera, which there are many.
They are all given different instructions, but one instruction is the same for all three, Do not stop filming. The loner is told to shave his face and head and to dress up like a clown with the costume that is provided. Once in the costume, he is sent out to preform tasks to the promise of $10,000, which he greatly wants and will go to any lengths to get. The family (who has been cut in half due to the departure of the kids that were picked up by their biological father) and the single girl receive VHS tapes containing video instructions that if they do not continue to film and follow the instructions given to them, then they will die. They are then shown on the same tape footage of a young boy being shot through the head for not following the rules in what appears to be an earlier recorded game.
The guy dressed as a clown is having a good time with this and is oblivious that there are more devious intentions at play here. On the other hand, the single girl and the couple are all too familiar with the real danger they face, and to them this is no laughing matter. Can they get through the night by following the rules or is this a game where no one can win?
Found Footage films are all the rage right now and they have their following. One of the biggest complaints that is discussed practically everywhere concerning this sub-genre is the question, “Why would they continue to film?”. This is a valid question and can take a lot of viewers out of the picture, but this film has finally answered that prayer. The whole point of the film is that they have to continue to film or they will be killed. This alone makes this film worth watching, but is that all this film has to offer? Definitely not.
The performance by the slacker turned clown who is overly willing to make a fool out of himself for a mere ten large gives a great performance and steals every second he is on camera. He is funny and charming in a sympathetic way. All the performances are good all around and everyone hits their respective marks. The direction and tension are spot on while it flows well throughout out the running time to create a great tone that gets darker till the finale. Found Footage films can get wrapped up in gimmicks at times, but this film has found a way to transcend that and get back to the basis for these films; to be scary and realistic. This is one of the great Found Footage films and should not be missed by fans of the sub-genre. CrypticRock give Mockingbird 5 out of 5 stars.