Is found footage here to stay?
At this point, it's almost pointless to mention that something uses the found footage framework to tell a story. Either something works as a movie, or it doesn't. It feels like every other movie right now is being told this way. The latest "Paranormal Activity" is in theaters tomorrow, and "Devil's Due" is later this month, while the spring also promises the time-travel thriller "Welcome To Yesterday" and the Amblin'-style first-contact story "Earth To Echo." In addition, CBS Films will be releasing "Afflicted" sometime this year, the canny genre riff we reviewed from the Toronto Film Festival last year, and we're sure there are plenty of other examples we're not thinking of off-hand. While the initial drive to tell stories this way could be seen as a budgetary concern, it's starting to feel like this is just a new way into any story. Then again, how new is it? Bram Stoker's Dracula could be considered a pre-cursor to telling stories this way, emphasizing the "reality" of the tale, and it seems to work well for genre material in particularly because of the way it establishes a mundane normalcy before introducing the more fantastic elements. At this point, complaining about this as a narrative device is pointless because it's obvious that filmmakers have decided this is a tool they plan to keep using.
- Drew McWeeny