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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A video camera is found at a scene of a crime. The content of the
camera is the actual film we're watching.
A teenage girl gets a video camera as a present from her very jolly dad. As she starts playing around with her new toy and documenting her life, we begin to get an insight into her family life. We slowly watch her father unravel as we begin to understand the situation he is in. He has lied to his family about his work situation and his finances. We watch him digging himself deeper and deeper into his evolving nightmare (an attempt at a pool is the visual metaphor of his downfall).
Very powerful performance from the actor playing the father. The performances around him help build up a solid film - edgy, inventive and daring. The visual style of the film (we see everything told from the point of view of the video camera), pays off, especially in the final, very daring scene.
This film does not make for easy viewing. It is however very rewarding.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Probably the most underrated film I've stumbled across on IMDb. I can
only assume the mediocre rating is a knee-jerk response to the fact
that it's 'found footage'.. (or maybe people went into it expecting
more of a horror movie?) Far from gimmickry, the medium lends quite a
bit of weight to the story. Not a single unconvincing performance in
the bunch, the dad in particular was brilliant.
Not sure what the other reviewer meant about the second half... the scenario didn't fall out of the writers ass, this kind of thing happens all the time... and like I said, the performances were more than convincing.
5 years and only 8 user reviews and 277 ratings? 5.5? really?? I shouldn't have to find out about movies like this by accident.
edit: I have to reiterate... there's nothing even remotely unbelievable about the fathers descent into madness. Anyone whose ever witnessed a someone crumble and lose their sh*t, especially a family member... this will be difficult to watch. My heart was thumping like mad during the last 15-20 minutes or so of this movie. I was genuinely affected.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Several films have worked with the conceit that they are constructed of
'found footage', most notably Cannibal Holocaust and its bloodless
cousin The Blair Witch Project but few have done so as convincingly or
to such strong effect as this second feature from British director Dom
Exhibit A uses as its title card a police evidence marker which lets us know that the tape we are about to watch is from a murder scene and that its origin is 'daughter's camcorder'. This is an excellent touch - playing into Hitchcock's first rule of suspense; let the audience know more than the characters. That one card gives the entire film a sense of foreboding, which it would otherwise lack.
The film is shot entirely on a commercial camcorder, operated mostly by the actors and the look is completely authentic, there's little here to suggest that what you are watching was filmed for consumption; it's scrappily shot, the camera often moves erratically and few shots seem at all composed, all of which only adds to the air of authenticity.
Rotheroe deliberately cast the film with unknowns and he's really lucked out with his cast, especially the heart-breakingly talented Brittany Ashworth (Judith King).
What impresses most though is how naturally the family interacts and how, in the early part of the film, they seem like every family; like yours or mine. The intricacies of family dynamics often play out in the background of shots; subtly building the reality of the situation so that when things get more extreme it's deeply affecting.
Violence in cinema often passes me by now. I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times that it's really shaken me up. Exhibit A is one of those times. I'm spoiling nothing by saying that the film culminates in the murder that leads to that title card. It's a 12-minute sequence, shot in a single static take and it is the single most harrowing thing I've seen since the rape scene in Gaspar Noe's Irreversible. It's not that the violence is explicit, quite the opposite, it all takes place off screen but that it is so extended, so brutally intense and so very personal.
At a time when most films that see the inside of a cinema will slip from the memory almost as you rise from your seat Exhibit A is a welcome shock. It's an intense and difficult experience but it is one you won't forget in a hurry and one that will provoke debate and discussion among audiences, that would be worth applauding even if it didn't also happen to be one of 2007's very best films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Exhibit A tells the timely story of a normal family disintegrating
under financial pressure, eventually driven to the unimaginable.
All is not as it seems as the King family go about their day-to-day lives oblivious of the horror to come. Dad And is nursing a secret that ultimately leads to terrible consequences for them all.
We witness these chilling events unfold through daughter Judith's video camera....
Very topical even two years on and the thing that makes this all the more unsettling is that this sort of thing (minus the ending) happens on a day to day basis. But the fact that Andy hides his failures to the camera is only the tip of the iceberg in his persona.
If you look deep into the film, his personal belongings and attributes could indicate that he had a very sad child hood, and his outbursts of mania could indicate that he suffers from cyclothemic personality disorder.
There is never an equilibrium with Andy. he is either really, really up, or depressed beyond belief, and this is evident in his mannerisms and body language.
It's a brilliantly made piece of work, although it's not an enjoyable experience to watch. In fact it's unbearable toward the end, with only a little light at the end of the tunnel.
The performances are outstanding, and this is one of the better 'found footage' films made.
It loses a couple of points for the confrontation at the barbecue, but all in all, it's solid, shocking stuff.
Exhibit A is another found footage film, but this time it decides to portray a terrifying drama rather than a horror. Judith has just received a video camera from her father, who accidentally broke her camera. She becomes a voyeur of everyday life involving her painfully lovey dovey family. With a promotion on the cards for her father, the family seem to be on the up and up. As the film progresses we see sudden changes in the father who seems to be hiding something from his wife and kids. Exhibit A is a fantastic film, and really thrusts you into the life of this family. As the tension mounts a number of key scenes give off all the emotional strain, terror, and awkwardness you would expect as an observer. In one moment we see the father and two children playfully try and capture a goof for You've Been Framed, as the son continuously fails to make the stunt looks realistic, the fun playful game soon infuriates the dad and when his anger explodes it's a truly horrifying moment. The film is a success because it seems so real. You hear about similar stories unfortunately often in the press. The final scene just shows how dedicated these actors are. Maintaining such a draining performance for such an extended take is to be highly commended. Not an enjoyable nor easy watch, but a very involving and affecting one.
The found footage genre gets quite a lot of stick. Admittedly it does
feel like a new found footage horror film is churned out every week and
most of them feel like the same film. Some are quite brilliant though.
REC, is probably the finest example the sub-genre has to offer and the
criminally under seen Noroi: The Curse is probably the scariest film I
have ever sat through. I had never heard of Exhibit A until I stumbled
across it on a list which featured the scariest found footage movie
moments. Because I'm a twisted individual, the idea of a family
crumbling in front of their own camcorder appealed to me and so I
sought it out immediately.
I made a point of reading very little about it because it clearly had a shocking ending which I didn't want spoilt. I'd urge everyone else to do the same, however if you do know the ending outcome, don't worry because it's still worth the watch. It's a wonderful idea for a found footage film. There are no Spanish zombies, or Blair witches and there are no Norwegian trolls either. It's all about a regular nuclear family, probably not dissimilar to yours or someone you know and that's where the disturbing horror really lies.
The film has obviously (and probably literally) been made on a shoestring, but it's all the more authentic for it. Exhibit A could've easily turned into an embarrassing PSHCE film if it felt false, but thankfully it doesn't. It helps that the performances are so good, especially by the Dad who doesn't have an easy role to play at all. The Mum sometimes felt a little wooden, but towards the end she crucially pulls out a powerful and authentic performance.
The trouble with most found footage films is that they don't actually feel like they've been found. Diary of the Dead, for example uses multiple cameras and even has music playing over some scenes! Exhibit A is by far the most 'real' found footage film I've seen. They've obviously shot on an actual cheap camcorder and used a lot of improvisation. You buy into the story and actually begin to feel like you know the characters, thus you care about what happens to them.
Exhibit A is about a man slowly cracking under financial pressures. It starts out comically with lots of funny and warm family moments. I also liked how we got to uncover lots of little things about Judith, the daughter who does the majority of the filming. In the end it becomes a film about secrets and how every family has them. There's a great moment mid-way through where the film starts to take an uneasy turn into psychological horror. What begins as the Dad trying to humorously stage a video for You've Been Framed becomes a desperate act of anger, verging on insanity.
It's a very slow film to get going, with a lot of unnecessary scenes which slow the film down, however this does add to the authenticity of it all. It's the final half hour where things take a disturbing turn and it becomes gripping to watch. The final five minutes are an incredibly harrowing watch. It has imagery that will sear its way into your brain and stay there for a long time.
Exhibit A is a great no budget horror film. It basically tells the same disturbing tale as Michael Haneke's striking debut, The Seventh Continent. Whilst, Exhibit A isn't as mind-numbingly depressing as The Seventh Continent, it is almost as effect. The acting is great and features some very powerful scenes which will stay with you. It may be a little slow to begin, but it's well worth sticking with as you feel immersed in the life of this family. It's a remarkable little film which deserves way more attention than it has received.
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Strengthened by compelling performances from its faithful cast, making
extremely effective use of its camera to capture all the unfolding
drama, and steadily escalating its gradually- building tension over the
course of its runtime, Exhibit A is an excellent example of smart,
gripping storytelling that also goes down as possibly the most
underrated work of its genre.
Set in Yorkshire, Exhibit A follows the day-to-day activities of a normal family that is driven to the unimaginable due to the pressure of their current financial situation. We witness the whole set of events through daughter Judith's video camera, which are set in motion when her dad hides a secret from the family which ultimately leads to devastating consequences.
Co-written & directed by Dom Rotheroe, Exhibit A is crafted with thorough understanding of what it needs to be and the way each segment combines with the next to make road for the chilling finale is truly admirable. Another key aspect that this indie horror ends up nailing is something that most of its counterparts tend to skip over, and that's the attention provided to its characters.
The scripted characters are pretty much like your neighbours next door. The cast portraying them makes them all the more believable, with Brittany Ashworth & Bradley Cole impressing the most in their respective roles of Judith & her father. Where the former brilliantly exhibits the sensibilities of a worried daughter, the latter steals the show with his skillful rendition of a father undergoing a complete mental breakdown, which is unnerving to watch at times.
On an overall scale, Exhibit A is a first-rate example of escalating horror that implements its found-footage style in a riveting manner and is absolutely deserving of a broader audience. An edge-of-the-seat thriller capturing the disintegration of a normal family brought upon by financial pressures, Exhibit A is one of the best offerings of its genre that amplifies its tense ambiance amazingly well to culminate with a final segment that's just as heartbreaking as it is utterly disturbing. An underrated gem. Highly recommended.
The timely story of a normal family disintegrating under financial
pressure, eventually driven to the unimaginable. We witness the
terrifying events unfold through daughter Judith's video camera, which
subsequently becomes Exhibit A.
This film is a slow burning nightmare about real life financial struggles that anyone can relate to. Not many found-footage films are executed in such a realistic fashion as Exhibit A, the drama was raw, the deteriorating family at the center of the story could be the family next door, or even worse yours! The film is an extremely upsetting watch that I will never want to watch again, making it kind of hard to recommend something of such depressing magnitude. The film though stands as a testament that you don't need a large budget, well-known actors or an A-list director to create a movie that has such a powerful impact.
The performances were remarkable and were all too real, the actors made everything seem like a horrifying reality. Bradley Cole gives one of the most gripping, startling downward spiral of a family man since Jack Nicholson's performance from The Shining, absolutely bone chilling! Bradley plays Andy King, a seemingly normal husband and father of two who is a secret lie, which digs him and his family into the darkest side of human nature. Brittany Ashworth gives such a sympathetic and devastating performance that will grab your heart. Brittany plays Judith King, the lonely, shy, with a fragile soul that is confused sexually and may be in the closet. Judith basically documents every moment of the family's day-to-day life, as a result she discovers the dad's damaging secret and his disturbing change in behavior. Angela Forrest gives such an earnest performance; she plays an everyday mom Sheila King, who is excited about her husband's promotion that leads them to put a down payment on beautiful beach house. Aggressive sparks fly when questionable things start to unravel and hidden secrets come to light to disquieting results, an all too late realization for the wife and mother. Lastly, Oliver Lee who plays Joe King, the jokester son who begins to butt heads with his father and starts to truly hate him. He was kind of the comic relief of the film and you relate to his character as he can be you or someone you know, making the last moments all the more horrific and lingering.
Writer, Director, Dom Rotheroe has created a timely, ripped from the headlines, distressing story that happens to be a found-footage horror. He connects with the audience, grabs their souls and throws them in the heart stopping realism of financial woes, which takes a normal father in a downward, sinister direction of the most unthinkable. This was surprisingly a very well made found-footage film despite its limited budget, though a very harsh and sad film that will ruin your day. It was like you weren't even watching a movie, but more like watching evidence at a murder trial, kind of similar to the real life case involving John List of 1971. Nothing you enjoy watching but too absorbing to stop. It's a shame that he hasn't made any other movies since this one, which was released back in 2007. The film deserves more recognition than what it got because it's one of the very few found-footage films that has a lasting impact.
Overall, this film will haunt you to the core, as the drama is all too real. The performances were compelling and heart shattering and the story were raw and have relevance. The last couple of minutes will traumatize you and will make you sick, a film you won't want to return to but definitely gets it's point across. Rent with caution! 6.6 out of 10
I did not know what to expect when I decided to watch this.
I knew it was an independent film, so bags of money would not have been wasted in the production of it. Fortunately this does not matter to me as what I look for in films is substance, strong acting performances, a good look and feel, originality, and the skills of the director. This scored well in all area's.
Although it was not amazingly original it was very well done. All acting was strong from all characters. In particular I would give extra credit to the father figure in the film; I though that he was almost flawless.
This is a must see for anyone who appreciates and enjoys independent films, but stay away if you're one of the brain dead philistines who await the next Hollywood throwaway remakes to come out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
...that presents the tragic disintegration of a middle-class family through the lens of a daughter's camcorder, with an excruciating heartbreak of a resolution that reminded this viewer of a certain disturbing scene from "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer." The acting from an ensemble of unknowns is near pitch perfect, particularly the beleaguered father, the "found footage" cinematography is handled well, and the script is tight without feeling stagy. "Exhibit A" efficiently builds a slowly rising sense of dread and horror in a very mundane setting with seemingly mundane characters. Nicely done, and definitely recommended to fans of unsettling psychodrama.
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