May 2, 2012

Area 407 (2012)

Two sisters board a plane bound for L.A. on New Years Eve, with a video camera in hand to film the trip. It takes about six minutes for us to decide that the little girl with the the camera is annoying and needs to shut the fuck up. She says hello to every single person on the plane, shoving the camera in their face and is not subtle about it.

To make things even worse, her voice grates on the nerves. While watching this movie, we wrote these notes on the matter: "Please die first" and "Hopefully, she loses her vocal cords in the crash." I know it seems harsh, but it felt like the actress playing her was pushing way too hard for maximum "cute little girl effect." It didn't work.

Getting to the plane crash, we couldn't help but feel as if someone was filming a crowd of people enduing one of those hydraulic simulator rides at Disneyland. Scream, lurch, scream, lurch. It really felt like some sort of amusement park "experience" thing. In all fairness, the plane crashing was a little bit tense and creepy.

... and we're fine with that. Really.
So, having just survived a plane crash, someones first instinct is of course to pick up a camera and start filming, and therein lies the main problem that most Found Footage flicks face; the audience is supposed to accept that when faced with dire, terrifying, and traumatic events or surroundings, the characters decide it makes total sense to film everything that's going on around them.. Don't worry though, they always have a perfectly logical reason for doing so...

"We need the light from the camera to see!" I can buy that. Honestly though, using the light doesn't involve filming anything. Turn the light on and point it in the direction you need to go, don't swing it from person to person to catch the drama/action/incident and expect me to buy that it's some sort of necessity.

"We have to document this!" With a camera? Screw that. I'm going to document these events with my own words when I survive. How am I going to survive? By focusing on my surroundings and thinking about nothing else but what I need to do, not leaving a document of my death for someone else's benefit.

"He's obsessed and won't stop filming!" Sure he will, when I beat him unconscious with his fucking camera. He'll stop real good.

There are more silly reasons that filmmakers come up with to get us to buy into the plot element that allows their entire film to exist, but you get the point. In Tape 407, the reason we're given is that the older sister is an aspiring photographer. It just makes no sense.

That's just how we felt at this point in the movie.
Most of the movie is made up of shaky-cam and loud screaming. Honestly, why is everyone screaming instead of talking? Sure, they're in shock or something, but no one in these movies ever stops and says "If we want to survive, we need to be as quiet as possible, so as not to draw the attention of the shit that's trying to kill us." Just once in a Found Footage movie, I would like to see a character bitch slap the fuck out of someone for screaming, and when they don't stop screaming, that same character shoots them dead. That would earn some silence from everyone else I think.

A lot of movies use the cheap trick of making the characters only see what we viewers see; as in a guy not seeing a massive dinosaur charging at him... a dinosaur that's in his direct line of sight, mind you.. because the camera is pointed away from his POV and we can't see it. There is absolutely no way that guy did not see the T-Rex (or whatever it was) charging from directly in front of him, just because he's picking up a camera. That kind of lazy film making is just unforgivable.

If you're going to make an unoriginal movie filled with bland cliche', cardboard cut-out characters who do horribly annoying and nonsensical things, and play your audience for fools with your camera tricks and plot holes, then at least... at the very least... make your movie effective. Scare us. Make things so tense that we forget the annoying and ridiculous bits.

From what I understand the actors received no script and were told to ad-lib their dialogue. Most of it was not good. The actors tried, but making a movie in 5 days under the constraint of a weak script with no dialogue is a near impossible task.I guess that's how you get lines like "She was trying to help you! You and your damned peanuts!" Tight, regimented structure usually wins out over loose, ad-libbing creative freedom in movies, and especially in Horror movies.

Scream more and film everything... that's how you survive.
By the time the survivors get to a cabin and try to regroup, the menace that is menacing them is finally revealed, and it's... a CGI cousin of the fucking Carnosaur? No kidding, It looked like Carnosaur (Google it and you will understand.) Everyone is screaming in terror inside the cabin, and we see Carnosaur run past a window, and it was genuinely funny. Any and all possible tension that could have come after that point, and I say could have, was instantly made null and void on the spot.

Worse still was the ending.

*ENDING SPOILER ALERT* Let's not even get into the question of how this is a Found Footage flick that the audience is supposed to believe is real, because with the way that it all ended, this tape could never be seen. They negated their own premise, essentially. *END OF ENDING SPOILER ALERT*

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Carnosaur.
Had anything about this movie been suspenseful, terrifying, atmospheric or even compelling, its shortcomings would have been far less noticeable. As it stands though, Area 407 (the original title was Tape 407 btw) is an example of Found Footage done wrong, and shows perfectly why these movies are so hard to effectively pull off, and it makes the sub-genre look silly. There's just too much not to like going on here for us to tell you to order it on VOD and give it a go.


  1. Cool review! I really must be getting old because this is the first 'found footage' flick I have watched (and I've seen most of 'em) that literally gave me motion sickness. I stopped about halfway in for that reason & was gonna finish it today - but you saved me the effort. Glad i didn't waste any more time on it. Also I don't feel like such an asshole now for wanting the camera kid to die in the crash- she was headache material.

  2. Oh no Anon, you're an asshole :)

    But... so am I and so is everyone else who will see this movie, so it's alright, you're perfectly normal :)

  3. I wasted 90 minutes of my life that I can never get back.

  4. this will be the troll 2 of this generation

  5. This movie sucked SO BADLY. Just ridiculous, pointless garbage. Since the tapes were left on the military base, who the fuck found them? Not civilian, they would've been eaten or eliminated. Not military, they'd never allow it to go public. Regards forgot to factor that in or just banked on a completely ignorant oblivious audience.