I am going to come right out and say it. Every reviewer of ‘found footage’ film shares one common yearning – to see the sub-genre which has shown to have enormous potential be used in a context where its intimate, rough around the edges style drags the audience from the comfort of their living room right into the heart of the action; to put you behind right behind the lens.
‘Capture, Kill, Release’ achieves not only that, but manages to craft a film that legitimises horror-fans persistence with a sub-genre which has been cheapened with increasing frequency by lazy film making.
I loved this film – its fucking sick, don’t get me wrong, but in all the best ways.
‘Capture, Kill, Release’ follows the exploits of a young couple as they begin to plan and document the kidnapping and murder of a random stranger. Once the new camera is purchased, the plan hatches and we, the audience, are exposed to some uncomfortably intimate scenes of murder and bodily dismemberment.
Let me introduce the horrific couple – Jenifer and Farhang (oddly enough much of the cast actually go by their real names), normal on the outside, but rotten to the core. Jenifer in-particular, is a manic sociopath, Farhang, not so much, but his weakness of character sees him the perfect pawn for her manipulation. Indeed, it is his sense of humility which in the end leads to the films tense conclusion – everyone has their limits I guess, although his could have done with being a little further towards the normal if there was ever a chance of saving homeless ‘Gary’ from his inevitable demise.
The characters are so well played that you ultimately won’t like either of them. She, so frantic and bubbly, but selfish and unpredictable, and him, well – what he needed is a tall glass of man-up. Initially he was a character you might have related to. I mean the first thing he wanted to do with the new video camera is to go all Ron-Jeremy on her ass, but it was not to be – ‘blue balled’ I believe was the technical terminology used in the film. Soon enough he shows himself weak and easily manipulated. I like to think that this was the intention for the film makers so as not to sensationalise or romanticise what is a plot of very poor taste indeed.
What the camera does get used for incidentally is just as gratuitous.
In the first act of the film we see the gradual ethical decline of Jenifer (more disturbingly without stimulus) and Farhang’s internal moral crisis becoming more extroverted. A poor cat is the first victim – not quite as poignant a scene as the one in Buttgereit’s ‘Nekromantik’ but close enough to let you know that this film isn’t going to flake on you when it comes to showing the good stuff.
Indeed, once the victim is selected it’s a nail-biting trip to the inevitable, and then some of the finest gore effects I’ve seen in ages. Literally – and believe me guys I don’t want to know – were they real body parts? This scene in particular, filmed in a cramped bathroom, with close-up claustrophobic shots so intimate you could almost smell Gary’s bloated decaying corpse in your living room was particularly well done. This is what found footage was made for – not some silly bint running around a ‘haunted house’ with all the camera stability of a ferret with Parkinsons. What follows that? Well more of the same really.
End review? Is the film perfect? Well no.
The character development was limited to say the least. I would have loved to see the origins of the plan, perhaps delved a little deeper into Farhang’s involvement in the concept as at no point did his character seem as if he wanted to go through with it, nor, however, did the plan seem to come as a shock to him. The script also was somewhat stunted. Admittedly, dialogue isn’t always a strong point of ‘found-footage’, I felt there were missed opportunities to have the two leads bounce remarks off one another to further explore their relationships or history; instead what we get is the word ‘fuck’ used as commas and the liberal use of the C-Bomb – from a girl no less!
Overall, however, if you like the whole ‘Torture-Porn’ genre and want to see a fresh and visceral example which is actually enjoyable to watch then you need to check out ‘Capture-Kill-Release’, an admirable effort which is both technically competent and hard hitting.