Review: 09 Is A Found Footage Thriller With A Twist At The End

Contributing Writer; Chile, Santiago de Chile (@jaimegrijalba)
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Review: 09 Is A Found Footage Thriller With A Twist At The End

09 might be the first Chilean found footage thriller film, and it may be the most middling effort done whenever someone tries to break into this popular brand of pictures. Specially when the film's promotion is a lie, as its said in posters and then in the end of the movie, that is the first film made entirely using cellphones, and we know that is a lie, and even when they try to fix up things by saying it's the first movie 100% filmed with smart phones, they still think that the Chilean audience doesn't know better and tries to trick them with the gimmick, even being supported by a famous phone brand in the posters and at the start of the movie.

So, besides the fake advertisement, does the movie look good? Well, not so much. While revolutionary at some point, that a movie made with this kind of technology is being so highly promoted as if it were the latest film by Michael Bay, the aesthetics of the movie don't differ that much from 90's video (which is good), but the jittery movements of the actresses who control the devices could've been touched up, or at least coached so they don't become a source of dizzyness and maybe puke from big audiences. Where Cloverfield was a problem, this movie might have the same one.

So, looks aside, is the movie good? Again, not so much. The plot is simple, there are three women in a house high on a mountain, an exclusive place for rich people. One of them is risking her stay in the university in which they all attend, and they must work on a final exam, recording and making a little film that they can show and save their friend from being expelled. It's clear that they all have problems, one of the most worried friends is bullied because she's not as pretty as the other two (in their opinion, I thought she looked great), and the other just has nothing memorable about her, but the girl that needs help... oh, she needs real help.

One of the best scenes isn't when we know that there seems to be two killers on the run in the forests around the house, or that the neighbour sees ghosts in the house, or that there's an attacked and mangled woman banging in their windows, but the fact that our co-protagonist, our suffering main lady, owner of the house with her two parents, is addicted to cocaine and after shutting herself inside the bathroom and sniffing some, dips a tampon in a bottle of vodka and proceeds to shove it in.

The film mixes up certain staples of the found footage genre, by mixing and presenting as if it were real footage recovered from the smartphones, the killing of one of the characters, the sudden appeareances, the distortion of the image when it gets hit, the "presence" that seems to conveniently move the camera of the phone in a precise direction in the precise moment, and the paranormal events that happen from time to time, just to remind you that you are seeing something strange and that you shouldn't be really watching it, as private as it is.

The ending is expected, as it's a twist that comes to explain everything that went wrong and strange in the rest of the film, and it reminds you of certain ending of a David Fincher movie that I won't mention because that would spoil this movie as well! (Yeah, it's only two options, and they're both lame, when it comes to movies that are almost 20 years old). The film is an interesting experiment in the way that images find their way to the big screen, but in terms of plot, is a middling effort that could've been managed in a better way.

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FistacuffsMarch 13, 2014 12:31 PM

Wait so they branded the film as being shot 100% on a smartphone? And it wasn't shot on a smartphone?