Sunday, November 9, 2014

Film Review: Mockingbird (2014)

Mockingbird (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...wants to be so much more, but it ultimately reverts to home invasion clichés."

A couple, a woman, and a man are given cameras and instructions they must follow or suffer the consequences...

After a shocking introduction, Mockingbird continues to follow this group of characters as they play along with this little game. Each character received a camera and instructions in the beginning of the film. For most of the film, the couple and the woman are tormented by unwanted visitors. (think: home invasion film) Meanwhile, the man dresses up as a clown and films himself as he completes several tasks around town. That's basically the entire film, without spoilers, of course. A big part of the ending can be seen a mile away, while the other part of the ending was too farfetched to be enjoyable. In other words, the ending was mediocre

The premise of the film was interesting enough to keep me hooked until the end, though. I genuinely enjoyed the idea. (really, I gave it a shot because it wasn't another supernatural found-footage film.) However, the execution feels flawed. The first act of the film feels like it dragged on far too long, the second act is too repetitive, and the finale was disappointing. I suppose that's the best way to explain the plot: disappointing. It looks like it wants to be so much more, but it ultimately reverts to home invasion clichés.

It's not all bad, though. I may not have loved the story, but some of the horror is surprisingly good. There's some decent tension and suspense here and there, as well as some good jump-scares. Not many, but a few. I also liked the used of subtle imagery, although also underused. Like seeing something subtle in the background without the loud noise... I really like that. There are also a few creepy scenes. If you read my review of The Taking of Deborah Logan, you know I love the creepy and spooky. Speaking frankly, though, it's basically everything you've seen in the typical home invasion film, but in found-footage form. (this could be a nightmare if you dislike the subgenre and the style.) So, the horror was good enough to satisfy my appetite but, like the plot, it fails to experiment in the slightest.

The acting was surprisingly great, though. I had absolutely no complaints when it came to the cast. I don't even have any complaints when it comes to the characters! (there are no douchebags in this one, believe it or not.) The use of classical music during some scenes was great. It helped create a creepy vibe, at least momentarily. The film is found-footage, as I previously stated, so expect similar cinematography and camerawork. Aside from a few scenes, Mockingbird wasn't so nauseating. Writer and director Brian Bertino finds some succeess in the horror department, despite some repetitive scenes, but disappoints with the story. It genuinely feels like it wants to be more, but ultimately ends up with more of the same.

Overall, Mockingbird is barely decent film. If you watched the trailer, this might seem like something new, but it's really the same ol' same ol'. That's really the most disappointing part of the film. Fortunately, despite also being more of the same ol' same ol', the horror is good and the acting is great. If you're not tired of the home invasion genre and found-footage style, this might be worth your time. The short runtime also makes the film a bit more attractive and easier to recommend. Hey, at least it won't waste your entire night if it's a dud for you...

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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