Zack (Tom Clear) has just been dumped by his girlfriend. In a misguided attempt to cheer him up, his brother and friends decide to throw a party in an abandoned retirement home currently undergoing serious refurbishment. As is the way of things, the old house has a tainted history involving demonic possession and fiery sacrifice, and inevitably the party soon begins to get out of control.
This no-budget British horror is formulaic, predictable and full of irritating characters you’d rather see meet their end as soon and as bloodily as possible. The fact that despite all that P.O.V. is as interesting and enjoyable as it ends up being is to the great credit of writer and director Richard Anthony Dunford and the unknown, yet talented cast he has assembled. Opening scenes set the tone of the relationship between the four leads, with (mostly) good natured ribbing giving way to genuine affection and comradery in the face of any external interference. There are some revelations and home truths delivered, at times somewhat bluntly, but on the whole the film moves along at a decent pace. As soon as the true history of the home is delivered by way of a well-constructed ghost story, the whole tone shifts and P.O.V. then becomes a horror chase movie, with the hapless Zack pursued through the property by all manner of possessed former friends.
The ace-in-the-whole, the USP if you will, is in the camerawork. As the title would suggest, Dunford’s film is seen entirely through the eyes of the lead, never once shifting its perspective. It would be fair to say this isn’t always successful with some angles feeling a little unnatural and strangely elevated, but it is an effective enough tool to maintain interest from the viewer throughout. You find yourself wanting to see what they do with this, how they develop the story, and are engaged enough to ignore some of the less obvious issues.
One of obvious ones however is that the final third of the film seems to be just Zack running down the same corridor, slamming through the same door, pursued by the same baddie over and over again. This repetition gives the impression that the original concept was for a short film, and these elongated chase scenes are included simply to draw out the running time. The peripheral characters remain, well, just that, being weaker than the leads in the acting stakes and serving little real purpose other than to fill out the sparsely attended party.
Criticism of P.O.V., though, feels harsh as the filmmakers are attempting something different, a change to the usual found footage motif so many low budget films adopt. For this they should be applauded, and while P.O.V. isn’t successful at everything it attempts, it does enough to warrant an audience and is very much worth seeking out.
INFO: P.O.V. / DIRECTOR: RICHARD ANTHONY DUNFORD / SCREENPLAY: RICARD ANTHONY DUNFORD / STARRING: TOM CLEAR, KARL KENNEDY-WILLIAMS, TUULA COSTELLOE, LEWIS SANDERSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW