Let’s see if we think this is true…
May as well start with a rant. Full disclosure: I have enjoyed some of these fake documentaries before, but not because they were trying so hard to make it seem real. Plenty of films can be entertaining (and have a documentary feel) without having to shove so much crap at us about it being real. This is fake. This is a fake movie that is capitalizing on a fake trend. The heavy-handed “this is real” garbage needs to be excised from horror films moving forward. A better movie would have just been the story—but, noooooo we’ve got to make it seem more important with pretentious dramatic music played over the intro. This is serious guys—real real serious—it’s not just another low budget horror film—nooooo.
Also, enough with the supposed experts saying this crap is real. It isn’t, no one believes this, and it hurts the film. Actual verifiable proof of the paranormal? Really? Really?! Good thing I just happened to stumble upon this crap and have my life changed. The film thinks we are stupid. Chris thinks we are stupid. We’re not stupid Chris (well, not always).
A great way to start a film is to have your intelligence insulted. Smart move, Chris.
So, we have another found footage film. Ah, found footage—my ancient frenemy. We follow Chris, who is curious to do his own investigation on these Dybbuk boxes and will do one on his channel(?).
What found footage needs is an engaging host. Chris isn’t a bad host, and he seems comfortable in this sort of setting, which is good. His dialogue feels a little stilted—more adlibbing would have helped instead of following a script. The camera angels are often weird, causing him to have to turn his head to talk to us, which is something I think looks odd (but is true to form).
Chris ain’t a wimp, so he’s buying his off the dark web, which gets him his identify stolen and causes all sorts of troubles—kidding. I suppose he thinks buying the box from child predators will be better than buying from a flea market collector off Ebay.
The best part of the film is that Chris reacts calmly. I am sure this would be a negative for some, but whenever I watch youtubers, most of them can’t stop shouting or screaming and I turn it off. If more were presented like this I might actually watch them more.
The worst part of the film is the failure to pay attention to all the details. They focused on the Dybbuk Box (which does look cool) and making Chris an engaging host. Where they overlooked was the apartment—it doesn’t look lived in. Everything has a sort of model home feel to it. It is too staged to be a real home. We keep our house organized, but right now we have a book, a notepad, two controllers and a water bottle on the coffee table. His is completely clear. Same goes for his bathroom and shower.
While the details might seem like a small nit-pick, they are oddly noticeable. In found footage we are always trying to scan the surroundings for something to happen, but here it is simply too pristine. The curtains are perfectly opened with equal space—who does that? If it is freezing, why the T-shirt?
The scares are subtle and slowly escalate—everything goes to the found footage formula. If this is someone’s first outing into found footage it might be more effective. For folks familiar with the genre, it smacks of a little too familiar a story. This is the problem with this genre, there is only so much you can really do with it, so whatever creativity this one has is washed away with the audience knowing too much.
I don’t this film is a total bust—it is a standard found footage flick that emphasizes dread over gore. Fans of spooky ghost stuff will pry like it fine, but mileage will vary. The team behind this film seems to have a niche of playing the line between documentary and horror, but it didn’t work as well for me as others have.