After a family is found dead in their new home in rural Illinois, a groupf of college kids on a camping trip decide to slip under the tape to explore the house and check out the crime scene. The events of that night and several others over the span of a few months are presented in evidence footage released by the Lawford County Sheriff’s Department.
Directors will tell you “found footage” films look easy to make but prove to be very difficult because the filmmaker must justify why the camera is rolling. Writer/director Jed Brian does follow the rule; a character with a brand new video camera obsessively documents even the most mundane moments while his friends argue with him, practically begging him to stop filming. The typical shaky camera angles are there for some of the more intense scenes but it is not too distracting.
The acting is better in some scenes than others. The cast seems to struggle at times with delivery in one situation and gels really well in another. Overall, the acting is not bad for a film with a tight budget. The script generally suits the characters and their demeanor but there are way too many “F-bombs.” It fits some of the characters’ personalities but in spite of the fear and the emotional reaction to the situation, the chronic swearing wears thin.
Although Unlisted Owner sounds like it could be a predictable, boring story, the plot generally moves along well. The story slows down considerably in the second act. Even though the young adults are goofing around before they make their ill-fated visit, some of the conversations seem a little long and unnecessary. The action picks up before this becomes intolerable.
The gore and make-up effects are adequate with nothing over-the top. Much of the violence occurs only partially on camera, adding to the creepy feel and leaving some of the more gruesome details up to the viewer’s imagination.
The production value for this film is a true highlight. Projects like Unlisted Owner do not have the funding of a large studio and the filmmakers use their resources wisely. One scene involving a dashboard camera is particularly well-shot and effective.
The film is enjoyable and showcases a talented director who takes some chances with the cinematography that pay off. Pay special attention to the police evidence files setting up some of the scenes; they help establish the timeline of events and identify characters. Unlisted Owner is worth a look. The script is a little weak and the coarse language may dissuade some viewers but the story carries itself all the way through and keeps things interesting. . –Rick Bryan
Appropriate gore/visual effects 8
Production Value 9
Final Cut score 41= 81%