This is an interesting film that I had the chance to check out when director, Steve Fabry, reached out. I was intrigued from the information he gave me and decided to check his film out. The synopsis is the found footage recordings of three friends on what sounds like an urban legend. They seek out the truth of what seems to be a supernatural figure and things become much darker as they do.
We kick this film off learning that this is the footage found on a camera by one of the characters. It informs us of the fate of those that are on the film and that it is found by Sergent Matennen (Jean Christophe Dechesne). When he starts to watch the footage, it is at a local pub. The man with the camera is Michel Garsou. Through passing the camera, we meet him as well as his two friends.
The two guys decide to walk their female friend home. As they do, they happen upon a crazed man. He is known as The Anesthetist. He is dressed as a doctor. This creature is quite creepy and its voice actually made me unsettled. It gives chase, but someone in a long jacket and hood stops it. The group goes back to check to see what happened and they find a body. They look the person over for close before heading home.
From here, Michel seeks out Kenny Vrancken who is somewhat of an expert on this man known as The Nightstalker. Michel is a bit skeptical, but goes along with it anyways. They also meet up with Ludovic Englebert and try to seek out this mysterious man. As the synopsis states, the more they find, the crazier things are. It also gets much darker as the more they look for The Nightstalker, it also brings them closer to The Anesthetist.
I do have to say, this film is interesting. I didn't realize until I started to watch it that it was French. This isn't a problem for me, as I love foreign films. I also was hooked as I found the concept interesting. I do have a slight beef with the film that we really don't get much back-story of the entity we are following. I had some idea from the information that was sent over to me, but it is missing from the film itself. As someone who is a big story guy, I really look for that. There is more as to why we don't, which I'll touch on in a bit.
Something I do have to give the film credit for though is sticking to the found-footage angle and not violating it. Everything we see is through the camera the characters have and I did like that aspect. Films like this as you are trying to discover things while using this subgenre work well. The problem I did have with it though is that is a bit too dialogue heavy. I think the film might have benefited from showing a bit more than telling. This doesn't ruin the movie by any stretch.
The film runs about 51 minutes, so it isn't technically feature length. I don't have any issues with films having a lower running time, as it usually tells me there isn't any filler. Unfortunately, there is a bit of that. I do think the film lingers on certain things a little bit too long and it hurts the pacing. I always would have liked to include more of the investigation instead to allow us to learn more about our supernatural characters. I did love the ending though, even if it tells us what happens early on, it did make me feel uneasy.
Now acting in found-footage can be tricky. You want it to be professional enough that you buy what they're doing, but then you want it to be amateur enough that it feels natural. I do think the acting for the film was solid. The three guys looking into everything seemed natural; it felt like guys that are just trying to figure out what was going on. The Nightstalker is hidden for the most part, but I think the look was solid. Same goes with The Anesthetist.
As for the effects, there were really any used in the film that I could think of. Everything was done practically and I thought the look of the footage messing up seemed real. The film was also shot very well, so I had no issues there either. This is actually a plus as found-footage can be tricky when using shaky cam as well.
Something I've really wanted to talk about was the sound design of the film. I thought it was cool to use the band that the director is from and actually focuses on this character. It is a good touch and even incorporating them into the film is as well. The biggest thing though was the effect on the voice of The Anesthetist. It made me uneasy and I was freaking me out to hear it speaking. I have to say it is very well done.
Now with that said, this film I do have some issues with, but I also really liked some aspects of it. I thought the found footage angle was interesting way to look into these supernatural creatures. I do think it is a misstep to go so heavy on the dialogue and not to reveal a bit more about either of them. It does keep the sprit of the subgenre though, which is definitely important. Acting was good, the look and the effects used were as well. I thought the score for the film was good and the sound design of The Anesthetist was great. I'm going to say this is an above average film, but I'm going to reserve to bring my rating up once I check out more of The Nightstalker lore that the director of this film has produced. In the e-mail, he informed me there are a couple of books as well as the music from The Nightstalker and Sercati help to give more back-story as well as more of the exploits of this avenging angel. I would recommend checking this out and supporting Indie horror and filmmaker as well.
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