It’s getting harder and harder to do something new with cinema formats. Found footage, in particular, seems to have been done to death but Erik Kristopher Myers’ latest film takes the oft-seen style and weaves in an intriguing and engrossing tale that proves there’s still some life left in the subgenre.
The film starts with the premise of a bunch of video tapes found in the basement of a house that show a pair of young film students attempting to make a documentary about a Baltimore folk legend Peeping Tom. The story goes that if you stare, unblinking, into a train tunnel for an hour until midnight, a malevolent character will appear and keep drawing closer with every subsequent blink. Budding director Gavin (Kallick) is adamant that the footage genuinely shows that the pair had indeed managed to catch Peeping Tom on camera and that something sinister has happened to them. He sets out to validate and compile the footage into his own movie, with a film crew shooting his progress.
On the surface, this could be just another found footage shocker. What Myers’ pseudo-documentary cleverly does is both use and subvert the tropes of the subgenre and present it as an effective film-within-a film package. Kellick is compelling as the wannabe filmmaker desperate to not only present the truth behind the videos he’s discovered but legitimise his own stalled career. By pointing out the limitations, styles and even the faults in many previous entries into the FF world, Myers’ film embraces an even greater meta approach than we’re used to.
When the focus shifts from the original footage to the descent and increasing passion of Gavin and the concerns of those around him, it becomes a powerful study of obsession rather than folklore with numerous surprising revelations.
If you think the subgenre is done and finished, Butterfly Kisses might change your mind as it’s head and shoulders above the rest.
BUTTERFLY KISSES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ERIK KRISTOPHER MYERS / STARRING: RACHEL ARMIGER, REED DELISLE, SETH ADAM KALLICK / RELEASE DATE: TBC (UK), OCTOBER 23RD (US)