“When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.” — IMDb
Oh man. I loved this movie so much. I’ll admit that I will watch anything with Mark Duplass‘s name on it, whether he is acting or directing (he was not only one of two main characters in this movie but he helped write it with his co-star, Patrick Brice, and they improvised a large portion of the movie as well, which makes it extra impressive).
Mark Duplass, for me, was instantly likeable in this movie. You know the movie is going to take some kind of dark turn, but you honestly expect it will be anything but him — he is so open, warm, and genuine. There are some pretty funny moments that aren’t really particularly humorous but you can’t help but laugh at his raw enthusiasm. Honestly, I know he was intended to be the main character, but I thought Brice’s role was weak in comparison. He had his moments, for sure, but overall he was forgettable next to Duplass.
You start getting hints of Duplass’s character, Josef, being a bit off almost immediately, and you want to just ignore it at first — tell yourself he’s just an eccentric, rich dude — until you absolutely can’t anymore. His unraveling is pretty disturbing to witness — with some serious second-hand embarrassment and uncomfortability at times — and he has some truly creepy moments (him guarding the door with the Peachfuzz mask on comes to mind, with his slow nod at the end… *shudder*).
Once Aaron (Brice’s character) escapes, we then get to experience some pretty impressive dread and more second-hand awfulness as we watch him be stalked by Josef… ooof. The thought of someone creeping around the outside of my house, peeking in the windows, keeping track of what I’m doing… always SO unnerving. Josef then preys on Aaron’s obvious humanity and compassion for a pretty shocking ending, and hearing Josef talking to the camera afterwards is chilling, to be honest.
Ultimately, like I said, I loved it. It was technically a “found footage” style movie, but I feel like you don’t notice it as much as you do with others since there’s a) no running through the woods at night with the camera bouncing and falling, and b) no moments of “dude you’re fighting for your life WHY ARE YOU STILL FILMING). And, as I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy the style so no complaints there. The pacing was great, the story was simple but effective, and I can’t say enough about Duplass’s character being so simultaneously relatable and yet terrifying. A+ all around.
Rating: 8.5/10 | Director: Patrick Brice | Starring: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass