Review: The Sigil / Director: Brandon Cano-Errecart / Screenplay: Brandon Cano-Errecart, Nathan Dean Snyder / Starring: Matthew Black, Brandon Cano-Errecart, Brittney Daylee, Miki Matteson, Sumiko Braun, / Released: July 22nd
The Sigil is a found footage movie that... Oi! Get back here. We haven’t finished yet. We watched it so you can jolly well read the review. That’s better. Anyway, where were we? Look, we’re well aware that the found footage genre has bred a certain amount of contempt through familiarity but it’s still a Good Idea in theory, especially for micro-budget horror movies; and micro-budget this undoubtedly is. For most of those involved this is their first feature film so it’s as good a way to start as any and it would be terrible if we were to be too unforgiving about it. This is going to be an awkward one. Perhaps we should have just let you run off. Oh well. *sigh*
The Sigil is a found footage movie about a house in Los Angeles where 41 people have died of radiation burns some months previously. While you might very well think that this would cause a public enquiry, international headlines and the closure of the suburb in question, your willing sense of found-footage-disbelief will buy into the fact that the house is just left derelict for the sister of one of the victims to break in with some chums and a video camera. You can probably work the rest out yourselves.
One supposes that found footage movies are actually supposed to be confusing to a point, so we won’t dwell on that too much. But at least they take the whole movie-within-a-movie thing seriously, because we swear that at one point they get the camera out just so they can have an argument. On the subject of which, we’ll probably just gloss over the acting on display; it’s definitely for the best and, after all, they aren’t working with the most brilliant script in the world. Mind you, it’s still a bit surprising to see the cast behaving like they know they’re in a horror movie long before they can have possibly realised. It’s not like it’s easy to tell (shaky camera work aside): this reviewer scares really easy (you heard correctly) and can confirm that at no point did he feel in the slightest bit uneasy. In fact he spent most of its running time wondering how a movie of little more than an hour actually managed to drag so much.
The whole point of the shaky camera is for you to wonder whether you saw something or not; implied horror and audience imagination are the key. Here, there’s nothing really going on. Perhaps we have just seen too much of this sort of thing. As we said we didn’t want to be too scathing about it, we will point out that the scene where they try to ask passers-by about the house is quite well handled. We’ll applaud the effort but it might be time to give this jaded genre a rest.