Everything is cyclical. Routines, fashions, trends, all of it comes and goes away again, just waiting to be rediscovered. It’s rare to be in at the ground floor with a new trend, but that’s exactly what happened for most of us when The Blair Witch Project was released. ‘Found Footage’ became the new thing. First it was parodied with The Bogus Witch Project or for the more adult audience, The Bare Wench Project, but then it was fully embraced and it seemed that anyone with a few cameras could re-create the success of the original (BWP of course wasn’t the first film of that type, it was just the most successful). The style will die out of course, there will be the huge hits and the majority will (are) be failures.
So where does Evidence sit on that list…well keep reading to find out, I can’t tell you here. It would make for a short article…
…But I can tell you here. It’s actually both. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t really a great film, in fact it’s barely a good one, but it’s incredibly ambitious, which caught me greatly by surprise.
It doesn’t start off well. It boasts a grating cast of characters (2 Men, 2 Women) who go for a camping trip and get the feeling that they’re being watched. As it would be a short and much less interesting film if they weren’t, we of course discover that they are. But then things get weirder…and weirder…until eventually things just get insane.
To detail much more would do a disservice to the final act of this film, and as that’s the only real thing it has going for it I couldn’t do that. Suffice to say that whatever film you think it is as you’re reading this, know that you’re wrong. I could sit here and type out all the things that happen and you’d think I was making it all up, you might even think I’m hyping it too much. But trust me when I say that I’m not. It really does go off the rails in a major way.
But I appreciate that. I don’t think being predictable is a negative as such, I think it’s more important how a story is told rather than what it’s about. But in this case I can make the exception. So often in horror, particularly the found-footage type, there’s the expectation that you can see every beat coming. The girl is going to have sex and then she’s going to get killed by the man in the mask. But what if that didn’t happen? What if you thought that’s what was going to happen but then a team of ninjas riding Elephants came bursting through the door, killed the masked man and it became about how this woman went on an adventure with these Elephant-riding ninja. Now, I know I’ve just invented the greatest film ever made, but that’s the type of weird ride Evidence takes you on.
But again – the film isn’t good. In fact in hindsight it annoys how the first half of the film becomes utterly redundant when you reach the second half (more so as it hints at an intriguing mystery). The joys from the second half come from wondering what insane thing the film will throw in next rather than anything else. It’s still a film filled with so-so performances with a smattering of good gore but devoid of actual ‘scares’. Also, somewhat hilariously, it answers the question of “Who would keep filming all this stuff that’s happening?” with “An unlikeable asshole of a man, that’s who.” Ladies, never trust a man who insists on recording everything, he’s probably a psychopath.