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Found – Toronto After Dark 2013

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found Based on the novel by Todd Rigney, is told from the point-of-view of a 12 year old boy named Marty (Gavin Brown).  Marty has a huge love for horror films and drawing macabre comics, but finds himself a bit of social outcast, since he is often bullied and beat up at school.  Marty also knows a secret – his older brother Steve (Ethan Philbeck) keeps severed heads in a bowling bag in his closet.  This creates some conflict for Marty, since even though he loves his brother, he is scared by the fact that he is most likely a serial killer.  As Marty struggles with his brother's secret, he finds his life turning into a horror movie, like the ones he used to love. Before I move onto the things I liked about Found, I thought I would get a few of my criticisms out of the way.  While the film does go a long way, having been made for only about $8000, its very low budget is still quite noticeable in the way it was shot.  While it doesn't really hurt the overall story, I thought that the film didn't look particularly cinematic.  This low quality of the film isn't helped by the fact that there is much bad acting in the film, mostly by child actors, which were almost laughable to watch.  That said, I thought the acting of the leads were quite decent. As for the actual plot of the film, Found really takes its time to get where it's going, but once it does, it's like a punch to the gut.  I would say that a little more than half the film is more akin to a family drama than a horror film.  Even though Marty knows that Steve is quite likely a horrible person, he still desperately wants to love his brother.  In fact, Marty idolizes Steve so much, that some of Steve's negative qualities begins to rub off on Marty, particularly Steve's advice to use violence to fight back against the bullies tormenting Marty. There is lengthy section in the middle of the film, which has Marty and his friend watching a film called Headless, which was apparently Steve's inspiration for his serial killing.  This film has some very graphic and disturbing violence, which can almost be described as torture porn.  It is quite interesting how Found opts to introduce horror and violence through one of the horror films Marty loves watching so much, which leads into the third act, when the horror begins entering into Marty's real life.  This raises the often asked question about how much violent movies influence violent people.  Was Steve turned into a killer by watching Headless or was he already a psychopath and was going to kill people nonetheless? After being a family drama for much of the film, the horror is cranked all the way up for the film's climax.  I really have to say that the ending of Found is probably one of the most disturbing horror film endings I have ever seen.  This is not a “fun” horror film that you would watch late at night and cheer at the kills.  This is a film that is meant to shock and disturb you and it most definitely delivers in that area.  It's probably made more disturbing by the fact that everything is shown from Marty's perspective and that we hear the horror more than see it.  That said, I will say that the final shot of the film will leave you shaken. Before I finish up, I should also comment on Found's excellent opening title sequence, which is done in an animated graphic novel style.  For such a low budget film, I was very much impressed at this title sequence, which started the film on a high note. Overall, I will say that Found is not a perfect film.  It's quite rough around the edges and the low budget and somewhat bad acting is noticeable throughout.  However, based on the strength of the film's very shocking ending, I will give the film my recommendation, even though it's unlikely that I will ever personally see it again. 8 | LIKED IT

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