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Found (DVD) Review

September 20, 2014 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Found (DVD) Review  

Gavin Brown– Marty
Ethan Philbeck– Steve
Phyllis Munro– Mom
Louie Lawless– Dad
Alex Kogin– David
Andy Alphonse– Pastor Don
Edward Jackson– Marcus

Directed by Scott Schirmer
Screenplay by Scott Schirmer and Todd Rigney, based on a novel by Todd Rigney

Distributed by RLJ Entertainment and Image Entertainment

Runtime– 103 minutes
Websites: http://foundmovie.net/found/

Buy it here

Found, written and directed by Scott Schirmer (and based on a novel by Todd Rigney, who also shares screenwriting credit with Schirmer), is one of those “serious” horror movies that, when it’s over, feels kind of pointless. It’s well made and well-acted but isn’t all that scary, at least in the “boo!”/suspense sense. It’s dreary and chock full of disturbing mood but, when it finally ends, you’re more likely to say “That’s it?” than “That was great!” The movie is definitely worth seeing, though.

The movie stars Gavin Brown as Marty, a somewhat shy horror nerd who doesn’t have many friends and gets picked on in school. Outside of his friend and fellow horror nerd David (Alex Kogin), the kids in Marty’s class treat him like garbage, especially class bully Marcus (Edward Jackson). Marty’s home life isn’t all that great, either, as his parents (Phyllis Munro and Louie Lawless are Mom and Dad) are at low level odds with each other and with Marty’s older brother Steve (Ethan Philbeck). Marty’s Mom doesn’t understand Marty’s fascination with all things horror, while his father insists that horror is something all boys like and something that they eventually grow out of. Neither parent knows what to do with Marty’s school issues and, as a result, they don’t pay as much attention to those problems as they probably should (Marty gets into a fight in the bathroom with Marcus so Marty’s mother pulls him out of school for a few days). And Steve’s presence in the home is just off putting for everyone. Steve is sullen and rude to his parents, and his parents, especially Dad, flip out over the smallest things involving their oldest son (oil on the driveway is apparently a very big deal). And Marty no longer has a strong relationship with his older brother as Marty knows Steve’s big secret and is seriously afraid of him. What is Steve’s big secret?

Steve kills people. Steve is a serial killer. He kills people, cuts off their heads, and puts the heads in a bowling bag in his closet (one at a time, obviously. It’s a single ball bag and isn’t one of those multi-ball bags that serious bowlers have). Marty, while snooping in his big brother’s room, found the bag one day and looked inside. Since then he’s gone back into Steve’s room repeatedly to see if his brother has a new head in the bag. Marty wears rubber gloves when opening the bag and, on occasion, holding the severed head in his hands. Marty knows that if his brother ever catches him in his room looking at the severed head he’ll kill him but he can’t stay away. Marty needs to see what’s in the bag.

You know that, eventually, Steve is going to get wise to what Marty knows, so the suspense caused by that is what drives the first part of the movie. And while that is going on you get to see more and more of Marty’s family’s dysfunction. Marty’s home is not a nice, happy place, although there are times where everything seems relatively okay. You could even say that Marty’s home life in those instances is kind of normal. But then the dysfunction kicks in and it’s a hell hole.

Now, is that dysfunction the reason Steve is a serial killer? The movie never really comes out and says yes or no. The movie presents other possible reasons for Steve’s need to kill, like Headless, a movie Steve stole from the video store and possibly used as inspiration for what he does (Headless features a masked killer decapitating helpless victims and putting their heads in a bowling bag, just like Steve). Marty wonders via voiceover if the movie somehow infected his brother and made him a psychopath. Steve’s need to kill could also be the result of bullying he experienced in his life (he tells Marty that he can’t allow people to push him around). Steve could also just be sick in the head in general (naturally evil or a bad seed). Again, the movie never comes out and says one way or the other. I personally believe that Steve, on some level, is a bad seed and that his family’s dysfunction, his obsession with horror movies, and his bullying past are just things in his life. I think Steve kills people simply because he likes to.

The ending, which is apparently freaking people out all over the world, is what hinders the movie a bit and, as I said at the beginning, makes the movie come off as kind of pointless. The ending is messed up and features a striking last image that could end up as a famous poster someday, but I don’t think it’s as powerful as the movie wants us to believe. The ending actually zaps whatever energy the movie generates up until that point. I think I sort of get what director Schirmer is going for, but, at least for me, the ending just makes the whole thing come off as pointless. I’m not convinced that is a good thing.
I do like the overall world that Schirmer creates. The world Marty exists in is a harsh place filled with awful people and things and you get the sense that nowhere is safe. Check out Marty’s school, where the kids are terrible people and the teachers, when they aren’t being mean to the children, are just stewing in hatred. Watch Marty’s teacher in action when she starts doling out detentions for kids talking. She hates her job, she hates her students, but she sort of likes punishing them. How is a student supposed to develop into a good person in that environment?

I also want to commend both the junkyard haunted house that turns into Marty’s favorite place in the whole world (it’s weird looking but still kind of fun. I wouldn’t mind spending an afternoon there) and the video store that Marty’s family frequents. A video store that still rents VHS tapes? That’s just goddamn awesome. If it’s a real place I want to go there and rent every fake movie it has in its horror section. They look amazing.

The performances are all quite good, with Gavin Brown carrying the movie as Marty. Philbeck is unsettling at times as Steve, although his sullenness may be a little too on the nose at times (if he’s a serial killer shouldn’t he be a little smoother in terms of his attitude? Even if he has issues with his parents shouldn’t he be a little less combative?). And Munro and Lawless are spot on as Mom and Dad.

Alex Kogin does a great job as Marty’s best friend David. If Schirmer ever decides to do a sequel it would be wise to focus on David as he no doubt regrets what he tells Marty during their sleepover. I would like to know how he deals with what the world after the end of the movie. And Edward Jackson is hilarious as the bully Marcus. He loves to cuss and whip out his middle finger, especially in front of his teacher. For my money you just don’t see enough of that kind of thing in movies today.

Found is a good horror movie. It deserves to be seen. I just wish it didn’t feel so generally pointless. My opinion may change at some point after giving the movie a little more thought. At the moment, though, Found is a worthwhile movie right up until the end. After that it’s just pretty good. And that’s okay.

See Found. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 5 (I’m counting the severed heads)

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Some. It’s okay.

Doobage: A human head in a bowling ball bag, graphic novel making, a red colored pencil, a nifty opening credits animation bit, a father-son argument, a fat kid best friend, a douchebag bully, a bitch teacher, gut punching, old lover letters, a stash of old porn magazines, a gas mask, a dilapidated haunted house out in the middle of the woods, serious homophobia, massive racism, a flashlight search, shovel hooey, a stolen videotape, a sleepover, bloody boob removal with wound licking, off screen decapitation, a very gross eyeball removal with a spoon, eyeball eating, fellatio with a severed head, tape bondage, on screen decapitation with blood shower, bad friends, more homophobia, another severed head in a bowling ball bag, off screen throwing up, cheesy movies at the old movie theatre, a public bathroom assault, art burning, more racism, a church thing, fork flipping, even more homophobia, a brawl in the woods, an argument, an assault, shovel to the face, gross molestation, a ball gag, a naked killer drenched in blood and wearing a gas mask, a giant machete, a naked man walking down the street, and a nasty last image.

Kim Richards?: Massive.

Gratuitous: Human head in a bowling ball gag, a goofy late-night paranormal radio show, a group bathroom break, a gas mask, homophobia, racism, a video store that only rents VHS tapes, what looks like a Popcorn poster on the wall, talk of Hellraiser and Nightbreed, an Iron Maiden Aces High poster, two movies within the movie, The Horror Hall of Fame VHS, a church thing, a sad pastor, multiple off-screen murders, and a poster for The Taint.

Best lines: “My brother keeps a human head in his closet,” “Don’t ignore me, son! That is your oil in the driveway!,” He’s got a tiny dick!,” “What the fuck are you doing?,” “He tried to look at your dick?,” “Do you want to be the kid that gets picked on or the kid that gets in trouble? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?,” “You know Marcus, he’s a dick hole,” “Don’t worry about Marcus. Today is your day off,” “Marty! You missed the boobs!,” “This is stupid, isn’t it?,” “Your brother is really sick,” “Weak! Really fucking weak!,” “You want to see something really scary?,” “I’m not like you, Marty. I’m not a fag,” “You fucked up, kiddo. You really fucked up,” “Man, that guy’s an asshole,” “It’s the niggers,” “What about me? I can never hurt you, Marty,” “Fucking little faggot pussy boy!,” “I’m going to get in trouble and I don’t care,” “I hope you go to hell,” “Do you even know how to be a mom?,” “You touch me again and you’ll regret it for the rest of your fucking life!,” I need you to stay in my room tonight,” “Are you going to hurt Mom and Dad?,” and “My life really has become a horror movie, and you know how they end.”

Movie rating: 7.5/10.0

DVD Info: Found is presented in widescreen “letterbox” format that preserves the “scope” aspect ratio of the movie’s original theatrical exhibition. The image has been enhanced for widescreen TV’s (I have no idea what any of that means).

Audio Info: English 5.1 Dolby Digital. There is no subtitle option.

Special Features:

-Commentary track by Scott Schirmer and Todd Rigney: This is a fun, informative commentary track that’s a joy to listen to. That’s how commentary tracks should be.

-Full, uncut versions of both Headless and Deep Dwellers: These are the “full length” versions of the movies that Marty and David watch during their sleepover. They’re both interesting short films on their own, although Headless is slightly more accomplished where Dwellers is more fun. Headless is apparently being made into a real movie. Check the flick’s Facebook page for ongoing details and whatnot.

-Trailers for Found, Ironclad 2: Battle for Blood (read my review here), and The Machine.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Found is a good horror flick that isn’t quite as good as its reputation would suggest. It’s still worth seeing, though. It has damn good performances and a worthwhile sense of dread. I just wish that the ending, while striking and horrific, didn’t make the movie feel pointless. Again, the movie is still worth seeing. Good stuff.