First I have to say that I find the whole “found footage” subgenre really tiresome. Most forget the golden rules that the film must abide by, no over produced, creativity or effects cluttering the footage; none of that bulky explanatory dialog justifying the scene or set-up; and no camera shots that step out of the found footage concept-these things destroy authenticity of the film. Also a lot of directors and writers forget that the story has to be somewhat realistic to established human behavior in said situations so most of the stuff coming out is sh*t. Of course this just my personal assessment of the subgenre. If I see a film step out or ignore these guidelines I usually turn of the movie. That being said, on to my thoughts toward “The Upper Footage”.
Writer/Director Justin Cole obviously understands the rules of found footage styled film-making because he successfully creates a believable, terrifying event that manages to feel real, look like something that should not have been caught on camera, and is entertaining as h*ll. The acting and scene shots are disturbing pieces that come together to make one horrifying account. From the debauched folderol of spoiled, rich kid escapades that start this story I felt an unsettling feeling come over me that lasted to the bitter end. The emotional connection I felt for the victim was at times sickening and intense.
The cinematography used for “The Upper Footage” stays within the confines of what would be plausible for this situation. It never goes beyond the poorly produced, camcorder footage-of course it is footage caught with the best equipment rich kid money could buy so every moment is watchable, gritty and powerful. There isn’t a bunch of post-editing effects that distort the footage beyond what works for authenticity and the added use of social media and tabloid TV footage is perfect. If I wasn’t such a gossip blog whore I would have believed these to be real Hollywood elitist brats. The material presented to us by Cole is just that spot-on.
There is a small lull in the stories momentum about midway, but every movie has that problem. With this film the lull happens during all the panicked screaming at each other the characters get wrapped up in. It is acceptable because in this context it has to be there. Otherwise the high octane, chilling climb upward would start to feel too sensational and contrived. Luckily it doesn’t last long and the second half of this horrendous tale pushes you right back into that uncomfortable, sickening feeling. “The Upper Footage” is truly a great piece of found footage horror that proves the subgenre still has plenty to offer to all horror fans. Even though this isn’t “real” footage of some poor girls demise, I had to remind myself of that fact constantly. Definitely check “The Upper Footage” out, it is a disturbing nightmare that stays with you well after watching the film.