Case-347 (2020)

Rating: 5/10

Mia is a psychologist trying to disprove alien conspiracies by interviewing the people closest to it. In the process she may be in the midst of something alien herself.

Horror is an interesting genre to me. It’s somehow both my favorite and least favorite genre in all of cinema. This is because when something is good, it’s legitimately scary, combined with excellent presentation, and often asks bigger questions than a horror film has any right to do so. But, when it’s bad, it’s usually just some rehashed knock-off of something that actually did scare people, and if you rip-off the same movies several times, this eventually becomes a sub-genre. I mean, you could probably say this of any sub-category of film, but with horror, well, you’ve seen one Slasher, you’ve seen them all. And the same could be said of these so-called “found footage” films. You’ve seen one and you’ve essentially seen them all.

When I saw the trailer for this film, I was really hoping for something more than just another movie in this particular genre. I didn’t find that, in fact I would probably say this was less than others just because of how often what’s supposed to be scary is merely described to us in long-winded exposition scenes. I mean, “show, don’t tell” is an old screenwriting adage and I think it’s more true in horror films than any other genre. I mean, don’t show the monster right away, of course. But what’s scarier? The scene in Alien where we see through the alien’s eyes as it stalks its prey, or the scene after that where the hunted prey describes how he thought he was being watched. I mean, both are scary in their own way, but the second scene is greatly lessened without the first. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to do things like that in the context of this film, but you have to do something to keep it interesting before the big scare at the end.

Oh, that reminds me, for the frights that are there, which are actually pretty good, they’re diminished because of how everyone reacts to it. Anytime there’s a jump scare someone is always saying, immediately after, just how scared they are or how scary it was. If this happened even a few seconds later instead of immediately it would be more believable and give me a chance to react to it before the characters start talking about how scary it was.

As an example, one near the end that made me laugh out loud by how ridiculous the people react, there’s a person on top of the stairs who shouldn’t be there, the cameraman pulls back and he starts shouting “Oh my God! Did you see that?” But he hadn’t checked if the person was even still there yet, nor could he have known that the other people hadn’t seen what he just saw as quickly as he presumes they hadn’t. It was so sudden and the reaction is immediate. If this were happening in real life I would probably assume the cameraman was in on some kind of practical joke just by how out of place his reaction is to this stimulus. Scaring someone is about pacing, as much as anything else. This movies seems to be operating under the Monkey-See-Monkey-Do principal of scaring someone, but it keeps me from being able to have my own reaction to said fear-inducer considering how quickly I have to view someone else reacting to it. I can’t get into the actual horror in this horror movie because of it.

Okay, outside of the horror, this actually had some pretty good acting and writing. I especially like Maya Stojan, who played Mia, as she is definitely the most believable actor in the movie. It’s a good thing too as she has more screen time than anyone else. Also, I want to applaud this movie for not overusing shaky-cam, hopefully this is something they’ll remember for this particular sub-genre moving forward.

SCORING:

+5: I know I complain a lot but it’s actually not that bad of a film, doesn’t do anything I haven’t seen better elsewhere, but I also don’t feel like I just wasted 90 minutes of my life, so a solid film to watch when you have free time if you like horror or aliens, or maybe something to make fun of with your friends for “Bad Movie Night” but it’s not really bad enough for something like that but not really good enough to recommend for much else

-1: Far too much exposition, especially for a horror film

-1: This movie is a good lesson in how to not scare people

+1: Good acting from the principal cast, especially Maya Stojan

+1: Though there’s too much exposition, the writing for the dialogue is pretty good

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