“Auteur” is a faux documentary that blends elements of supernatural found footage with urban legend of sorts. The film is directed by Cameron Romero and follows a young indie filmmaker out to prove his talent to his father by tracking down a derailed Director and the infamous project that became a nightmare. “Auteur” stars Tom Sizemore, B.J. Hendricks, Ian Hutton, Madeline Merritt, Eli Jane, Matt Mercer and Ace Marrero. It is a film that is as artful as it is bad, with choppy dialog that feels contrived, and creative vision and concept rife possibility.
The story is a very creative, well written one that gives rise to a twisted journey of a rock star indie Director and his unfortunate downward spiral. The arc is filled with very few holes, heavy on macabre, and laden with classic found footage staging. Things that both give “Auteur” life on screen and ultimately plague it to the point of almost being non-watchable- almost. If you hang in there until midway through the film the momentum does pay-off somewhat. The film is mostly crippled by bad acting, poor dialog delivery and heavy over-acting-even in scenes that were meant to feel natural and realistic.
The special effects are a blend of low budget practicality and expected supernatural CGI inserts. The supernatural aspects are classic, and part of what makes “Auteur” watchable and at moments entertaining. The possessed and pathetic soul is a big draw in horror- always. The horror elements are sparse, most taking place in the last act of the mockumentary. The practical effects are more “off – camera” suggestive insights that make indie, “stripped-down” projects work. The blood and gore is non-existent but the effect is very much prominent in “Auteur”. The soundtrack and effects are more of the same expected sounds that build the suspense, help the emotionality of it all, and ultimately bore the viewer until that magical third act when it seems everything about the film and intended vision really come alive.
Overall “Auteur” fails to impress. The story is strong enough and the talent should have been there to really sell this nightmare. The execution of the story arc falters consistently through the first half of the film and give us more of the “same ole, same ole” in found footage gimmickry. The last act does allow the film to rebound somewhat, especially when during the second half what seemed a train wreck miraculously rights itself enough to make it watchable. Not enough to save the film completely or forgive the first half- but whatev’. The effects and soundtrack work, the supernatural element and story concept work. Basically check “Auteur” out but in order to not be disappointed you need to set through some really bad material to feel okay with watching this movie.