Evidence (2011) Movie Review

Ashley Bracken in Evidence (2011) Movie Image.jpg

Yet more found footage horror arrives in the form of the unimaginatively titled “Evidence”, from director Howie Askins and writer/star Ryan McCoy. With the continuing success/popularity/milking of the genre now having pretty much equalled the slasher boom of the 1980s, films are inevitably struggling to add anything new to the formula, and so it’s understandable that even the most hardcore fans will find it hard to get exited at the prospect of yet another low budget outing where endangered idiots refuse to put down their cameras in the face of certain death.

Certainly, “Evidence” doesn’t start too promisingly, with McCoy out in the woods with best friend Brett and their respective girlfriends, making a documentary about nothing in particular. Soon enough, they are beset by the usual “Blair Witch Project” shenanigans, hearing noises in the night, having their tents shaken and waking up to find strange things in the tress. Tempers quickly fray and the others turn against Ryan, accusing him of orchestrating their torments in the name of his film. Things escalate, weird sights are half seen, one of their party disappears, and so on and so forth.

Ashley Bracken in Evidence (2011) Movie Image.jpg

The painfully slow opening half of the film does try the patience, not least since none of the characters are even remotely likeable, spending most of their time complaining or being nasty to each other. With no real purpose for their being out in the woods or any motivation behind the documentary, there’s very little to hold the interest, aside from perhaps some decent camera work and atmospheric use of scenery and locations. The early frights are all clearly by the numbers, and whilst the film does successfully manage an air of isolated woodsy menace, many viewers may be sorely tempted to switch off, without even so much the feeling that director Askins is going down the slow burn chills route.

However, “Evidence” is a film definitely worth sticking with, as without wishing to give anything away, it quite suddenly undergoes a dramatic shift, picking up the pace considerably and hurtling headlong into shrieking visceral horror, very much in the first person shooter style of “Rec”. This abrupt change is unpredictable and very well handled, knocking the viewer off balance, and the film proceeds to serve up some genuinely breathless moments, packing in an impressive amount of frenetic thrills, loud hysterical screaming and gore as the characters are chased and tormented.

Evidence (2011) Movie Image

Askins does a great job of upping the tension, and drags the film kicking and screaming from the low budget chicanery of its first act to something unexpectedly gripping and exciting. While none of it actually makes sense or seems particularly connected to the opening acts, the film wisely avoids wasting any of its short running time trying to explain what’s going on, instead settling for thrusting the viewer right into the action, bombarding the senses and keeping the ghost train ride like shocks coming thick and fast – the excellent end credits are well worth sticking around for, going some way to build upon suggestions as to the meaning behind events.

Surviving a threateningly dull first half, “Evidence” emerges as definitely one of the best found footage films of the last few years, and one of the very few to make truly effective use of the format. Far more entertaining and exciting than any of the “Paranormal Activity” series or Hollywood “Rec” remake “Quarantine”, it’s a film which will hopefully manage to find a wider audience despite being shackled by association with the waves of inferior genre product hitting the screen – horror fans are strongly urged to check it out when it hits region 2 DVD via Showbox on 12th March.

Howie Askins (director) / Ryan McCoy (screenplay)
CAST: Ryan McCoy … Ryan
Brett Rosenberg … Brett
Abigail Richie … Abi
Ashley Bracken … Ashley
Risdon Roberts … Sara

Buy Evidence on DVD



About James Mudge

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James is a Scottish writer based in London. He is one of BeyondHollywood.com’s oldest tenured movie reviewer, specializing in all forms of cinema from the Asian continent, as well as the angst-strewn world of independent cinema and the plasma-filled caverns of the horror genre. James can be reached at jamesmudge (at) btinternet.com, preferably with offers of free drinks.

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  • Melissa

    Worst review ever….this film and “best” should never be on the same page….

    • Grell

      You’re being a bit harsh there. Perhaps you’re not one of the people who appreciates movies such as this, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to bash the writer of the review because you don’t agree with his writing.

      Personally, I found the movie to be slow at first, but for those of you who have seen it, you’ll know what I mean when I say the Ravine Scene had me sh*tting bricks and not wanting to continue watching. I persevered and was delighted to find my expectations were broken as the film surpassed them.

      So Melissa, keep your asinine comments to yourself, because it’s not exactly very nice to bash someone’s review. And before you claim I’m doing the same to you, I’m not. I’m pointing out your flaws.

  • Melissa

    Blair Witch + The Crazies = Evidence

  • Grell

    I agree with the review whole-heartedly.

    In the synopsis I read, the whole point of going into the mountains was to record Brett’s first camping trip, which is why Ryan had the camcorder with him. For the first half of the movie I wasn’t impressed with what was supposed to be the story, but as soon as it hit the Ravine Scene, I was completely compelled to watch it despite having sh*t several bricks from the sudden onslaught of feat that I haven’t felt whilst watching a movie for several years now.

    Instead of being too predictable like most horror movies are in this day and age, this one had chills in all the right places and made me jump several times when I wasn’t expecting something to happen.

    The only thing that threw me is the sudden change towards the end; what the hell were they trying to show? Was it some form of Genetic Mutation gone wrong, an experiment they were working on? Whatever it was, it left us hanging to guess, and that is what a good Horror Movie is all about; thrills, chills, and guessing games.