Review: Evidence (15) / Directed by: Howie Askins /Written by: Ryan McCoy / Starring: Ryan McCoy, Brett Rosenberg, Abigail Richie, Ashley Bracken / Released: 12th March
Evidence is the newest addition in the seemingly never ending conveyor belt of found footage films to come out of nowhere. The good news is that unlike a lot of its brethren, this is actually worth watching.
The story centres around a group of four friends, Ryan (McCoy), Brett (Rosenberg), Abi (Richie) and Ashley (Bracken), who go camping. Ryan is an amateur documentary film-maker who decides to film the whole trip, much to the growing annoyance of his friends. Once the usual bout of minimal character introductions are over with and the group find themselves camped, the first sign of danger comes when they hear strange and eerie screams in the night.
The next morning, whilst out for a walk, they see something in the ravine below them. Something that moves quickly and definitely isn’t human. Trying to track it in the bushes, it becomes clear that this is what was making the noises. That night, Ryan finds that someone has carved sentences into the trees surrounding their camp and when their camp is attacked, they decide to go back to the relative safety of their RV and wait until morning to pack the camp up in the daylight. When morning comes, they realise that one of their party is missing and, as well as packing the camp up, go looking for them. When they make a discovery that makes them think that their friend is dead. They trot back to the RV and one of the party goes to look for help, but when they don’t arrive back by nightfall, the remaining pair start to worry.
Their concern is justified considering that the RV has already been attacked and immobilised and when something returns in the night to try and get inside the vehicle, they decide to make a break for it. It’s at this stage that the film shoots off at a completely different tangent and we are witness to a quite breathless cat and mouse game that turns into an all out battle for survival with countless numbers of attackers trying to get at them as well as a few saviours trying to protect them. It’s a pleasant surprise to see this instead of countless groan inducing minutes of handi-cam footage of the floor as they run round the woods in circles.
To explain exactly what is going on in this last act would completely ruin the twist of the movie and, although the twist is completely bizarre, that would be a shame.
Suffice to say that the film-makers have tried something new here and, for the most part, have managed to pull it off. With the sheer volume and varying levels of quality in the sub-genre of found footage films that have been released since The Blair Witch Project in 1999, it is refreshing to find one that not only keeps your attention and doesn’t bore you, but is also actually quite scary in most of the right places.
Much like its 90s big sister, Evidence will leave you thinking twice about that planned camping trip this summer. If you go down to the woods today, you won’t believe your eyes!