Friday, May 1, 2015

Evidence - Movie Review

Dir. Olatunde Osunsanmi

I didn't want to do it, guys.  I know how many people out there hate spoilers and I tend to spoil movies in my reviews more often than not BUT I usually try to withhold from spoilers with twist endings and surprise killers in movies.  However, the twist ending in this movie is its ONLY SAVING GRACE.  So I kind of have to do it in order to give a complete review, but if you don't want to know who the killer is, just, um, don't read the last couple paragraphs? (Sowwy.)

That aside, Evidence started out great.  For about all of three minutes.  Our movie begins in 2012 in Kidwell, Nevada with a wide angle shot on a crime scene.  Fire ablaze, cops and coroners in mid-motion, everything and everyone frozen in time as the camera pans and zooms with ease on a disembodied arm, an incinerated body, a flipped shuttle bus, and a video camera being confiscated as evidence.  Everything is in bright vivid overly-contrasted colors with intense music playing and it is awesome.

Then we have about an hour and twenty-five minutes of crap.  Detectives Reese and Burquez are on task to review the video evidence recovered from the crime scene, on which we meet Leann, an aspiring actress, Rachel a documentary filmmaker, and Tyler, Leann's emo boyfriend who proposes to her at the beginning of the movie and gets hit with a,"No, I can't."  Ouch, it burns.  Even after the cold rejection, Tyler, Leann, and Rachel set off on a shuttle bus for a Vegas vacation they had been planning.  Their fellow passengers are Vicki, a dancer from Russia, Stephen a teenage magician, and a strange redhead middle-aged woman carrying a duffle bag full of cash.

All of this footage, by the way, is shot through Rachel's handheld camera with her as the narrator and she is annoying as balls and she never gets any less annoying throughout the movie.  She is snarky and conceited and snippy and none of it in a charming way.  Anyway, Ben, the shuttle driver ends up taking them down a back road as a shortcut to get through to Vegas when all of a sudden the bus runs over some barbed wire and flips.  Everyone is alive but shaken up and head out to the nearest abandoned dusty town full of vehicles and sheds to search for a phone.

Shut up, Rachel.
One by one, our characters drop like flies.  There is a healthy amount of tension builds, jump scares, and creepy, dark, abandoned building exploration throughout the film.  We are led to believe that our killer (who by the way is wearing a welding helmet and apron and wielding a torch) is supposed to be Gerald, a PTSD-suffering retired army sergeant married to Trina, aforementioned crazy redhead on the bus.  Gerald spent a fair amount of time in a mental institution and 90 grand was cleared out of his account two days prior.  We see Stephen, Vicki, and Ben lose their lives (allegedly) by way of stabbing, burning, and various other means of generic horror flick death. 

At this point, I'm getting a little frustrated because every time there's an intense scene and the camera falls out of someone's hands, the action taking place lands perfectly in-frame.  I sigh and yell, "C'mon, found footage film, be original!  Be realistic!  Have the camera film a wall for five minutes while someone gets flambeed in the background!"  As the film progresses, we learn that Gerald is dead and wanted Trina to take all his money and go to Vegas, but oops, Trina gets her throat slit by Mr. Welder Man.  There's also one part of the film where Mr. Welder writes "Fear Me As You Fear God" on a bathroom mirror in blood and then takes cellphone selfie footage of himself in the mirror and I cackle at the absurdity.

Gotta get my best angle.

So now our detectives realize that this whole thing was planned by the killer and that he is smart and meticulous and purposely wants them to see this footage.  Then they start to think, "Why did Ben take them down this back road on a nonstop trip to Vegas and how did he know there would conveniently be this rest stop nearby?"  Ben, the bus driver, becomes our prime suspect.  Eventually Mr. Welder attacks Rachel and sets her on fire and then the whole building blows up.  Just as the welder is taking off his mask, the footage freezes and this is the last file on the camera.  OR IS IT?  Suddely the detectives learn that all of this video footage has been leaked on the news as a snuff film after their server has been hacked.  Leann, after being brought into the police station for questioning, reveals that before Stephen died, he was choking on something.  Something like an SD card.


On this secret footage, we find out that Tyler, the emo boyfriend, killed Stephen for spying on him and Leann arguing.  Tyler is the killer!!  But wait, the detectives realize that the time codes on the footage aren't breaking with the film glitches - they're not glitches, they're EDITS.  It is revealed that Leann is the other killer and Rachel is still alive.  Yep, they were all in this together, they planned this, they finally made their masterpiece movie with miss aspiring actress Leann as the star damsel in distress.  The movie then gives us a quick flashback of all the footage that wasn't seen in the previous hour and a half, showing how they committed all the murders, all the quick costume changes into the welder gear, etcetera etcetera.  My jaw drops and I chuckle to myself because after suffering through an hour and a half of stupidity, this twist is executed quite well and now I'm sitting here wondering if I actually liked this movie afterall.

Does anyone else experience this like I do?  You sit through a movie being bored, disappointed, unimpressed, but then something so badass happens at the end, you're like "Well, crap, now I like it" but you don't want like it?  Ah, so conflicting!!  I totally appreciate the typical bait and switch setup of Ben supposedly being the killer and then I started to figure Leann might be the killer or even Tyler but I didn't put together that it was all three of them and that they had meticulously planned this from weeks before.  And then I go, "A-ha, there's actually a reason why every time the camera was dropped, they landed precisely in frame!!"  They got their footage on all the major media outlets, they're famous, mission accomplished.

However, one question remains, why did Ben take them down that back road if it was supposed to be a nonstop trip to Vegas?  Dun, dun, dun...



  1. This review made me laugh out loud over and over. I think this might be the angriest review you've written, and I love it. The spoilers make it sound interesting enough to watch, even though I mostly want to see it to HATE IT. The welder selfie is too much and I wouldn't have believed it if you didn't add the photo.

  2. Remember last time we were at your house and I said I was cracking myself up while writing because of the sheer ridiculousness - it was for this movie hahahaha You and Pat would get a kick out of it.