Evidence disguises itself as just another crime-thriller but instead yet the latest in the unfortunately long line of films employing the cheap found footage treatment around half-baked stories. For their parts, the two big names with Radha Mitchell and Stephen Moyer don’t get a whole heck of a lot to do except for staring at monitors so this was probably either a quick payday or a favor for one of the filmmakers
RLJ/Image | NR – 94 min. – $29.97 | August 20, 2013
Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Writer(s): John Swetnam (written by)
Cast: Caitlin Stasey, Torrey DeVitto, Harry Lennix, Dale Dickey, Radha Mitchell, Stephen Moyer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
If I had one positive thing to say about the independent film Evidence, it’s that director Olatunde Osunsanmi cleverly disguised it as a straight thriller and then threw the viewer for a loop by interlacing standard filmmaking with the, for me anyway, wretched and overused ‘found footage’ ploy. Kudos goes to Mr. Osunsanmi.
Evidence opens with a nifty 360 degree frozen look at the aftermath of a horrific crime scene, something I think I saw on an episode of “CSI”, as investigators bag, well, evidence and take samples. After the credits, we follow Detective Burquez (RADHA MITCHELL) who is heading the investigation with the help of Detective Reese (STEPHEN MOYER) who pleads to get on the case despite being on forced leave for some event which is later revealed but has no bearing on the plot whatsoever.
The film jumps back and forth from “real time” to the found footage where we are introduced to aspiring actress Leann (TORREY DEVITTO) and her roommate Rachel (CAITLIN STASEY), who is shooting some sort of documentary, thus filming everything from a botched marriage proposal by Rachel’s boyfriend, Tyler (NOLAN GERARD FUNK) to a planned trip to Las Vegas. Their journey, which includes musician Tyler, to Vegas is by bus, driven by a man named Ben (HARRY LENNIX) and along the way pick up an eclectic group of passengers: Vicki (SVETLANA METKINA), a mother wanting to reestablish a relationship with her son, a teenager (ALBERT KUO) who is running away to Vegas hoping to be a magician’s assistant, and a mysterious woman named Katrina (DALE DICKEY).
Their journey to Vegas takes a way wrong turn after going into the middle of nowhere in an a abandoned industrial area when their bus strikes a bar wire trap leaving them all stranded. And, as with all horror movies, their cell phones don’t work and there doesn’t seem to be a working telephone anywhere. But before they can band together, they are attacked by some unknown foe.
It’s through the footage shot by Rachel, as well as cell phone footage and a camera brought by Vicki found at the crime scene, that the police use to piece together what happened but bits of it has been damaged so the investigators only get glimpses but hoping what they do find will reveal how and why the multiple murders happened and who committed them.
That’s it. That’s the plot, not exactly the most thrilling thing and is entirely smooth transitioning from the found footage to the present time. The other issue is, for the cops at least, Stephen Moyer, who somehow got his name above the title on the front cover, nor Radha Mitchell seemed to care and this was a quick 2 day shoot with minimal pay and a favor for the director or a producer. Also, outside of a scene where Moyer interviews someone, the bulk of the time he and Mitchell merely stare at monitors looking concerned.
With regards to the found footage portions, I didn’t find very much of it all that suspenseful with director Olatunde Osunsanmi, who directed 2009’s The Fourth Kind, utilizing the same old style with jump scares and creepy/odd characters who either serve well as suspects or as a killer’s latest victim. In this case, the killer wears a welder’s mask and filets people in the most excruciating fashions.
Casting wise for the found footage section, I can’t find too much fault with any of the actors as it’s not exactly the easiest thing not only for the style but the fact they are in a horror films which means minimal character development, often one line is good enough, and end up not surviving to the final reel. However, two of the highlights are Torrey DiVitto (“Pretty Little Liars”) and Caitlin Stasey (Tomorrow, When the War Began) who come out the best though no thanks to a meandering story.
Evidence is hardly an awful film but it’s unfortunately terribly dull at times and the pacing is way off. The acting isn’t anything special with the two most recognizable faces spent a couple of days on the set and collected a base salary probably put towards a car payment. I will say, I do give some credit to Osunsanmi for trying something different with the now tired “found footage” ploy but even so, it’s just not good enough.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
This release comes with a thin, title-embossed, slip cover. Unfortunately no features were included.
VIDEO – 3.25/5
RLJ/Image Entertainment releases Evidence on Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition transfer. As you might expect, since a good section of the movie is shown via found footage, these scenes don’t look the best as some of it was shot using inferior cameras. When we are inside the police station, the detail levels are somewhat better but even so, none of it is remarkable.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track included is adequate coming to life during the more blood-curdling scenes while dialogue levels sound nice and clear. The LFE channel is relatively quiet but the rear channels do get some use thanks for ambient noises and such. It’s a standard lossless track which will satisfy any fans of the movie.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, Evidence disguises itself as just another crime-thriller but instead yet the latest in the unfortunately long line of films employing the cheap found footage treatment around half-baked stories. For their parts, the two big names with Radha Mitchell and Stephen Moyer don’t get a whole heck of a lot to do except for staring at monitors so this was probably either a quick payday or a favor for one of the filmmakers, whichever way, this won’t appear on their highlight reels anytime soon.