Another week and another 'found footage' movie comes along, but as we all know it's quality not quantity that counts and Howie Askins' Evidence, written by and starring Ryan McCoy, is one of the better recent entries into the current go-to-genre. It does Evidence no disservice to say that the whiff of The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity and [Rec] pervades throughout the movie, as McCoy's narrative flies off in unexpected directions and the movie itself undergoes an eye catching shift in tempo from creeping tension into outright frantic, relentless and gratifyingly entertaining chaos that more than offsets any possible 'found footage' fatigue.
The generic, and flimsy, set up sees Ryan (McCoy) and three friends heading off for a camping expedition to an isolated spot, (highlighted by a 'no trespassing' sign the friends dutifully ignore), a trip that forms part of a documentary Ryan is making on his best friend Brett (Brett Rosenberg). Quite why annoying dullard Brett should be the subject of a documentary is not clear, but this lazy narrative catalyst soon falls by the wayside as the stock-in-trade gang, completed by Ryan's girlfriend Abi (Abigail Richie) and her pal Ashley (Ashley Bracken) begin to suspect their idyllic seeming weekend away might not be as much fun as they were hoping for. Hearing unexplained noises on the first night and catching a glimpse of what appears to be a Sasquatch type creature the following day leaves Brett and the girls desperate to pack up and head home but puts Ryan in the mood to, as all good movie documentarists do, stay put and see what he can capture on his video camera.
So far, so average, but Evidence is a movie of two halves, and after the slow burn of the set up it ramps up the action after Brett goes missing and the rest of the group realise that they are being hunted by someone, or something. Without wishing to divulge any spoilers it's enough to say that the someone or something is not what you might be expecting and the rest of the movie, which is made up of extended, and increasingly revelatory chase sequences, lasting around thirty minutes, takes Evidence into genuinely exciting territory that demands you keep your eyes on the screen right through the end credits.
Askins and McCoy's genre outing employs all of the stylistic elements familiar from the 'found footage' movie and throws in many of the narrative themes seen in its predecessors, but, to their credit, what could have been a run-of-the-mill knock off emerges as a highly enjoyable and deftly constructed movie whose success comes in the way it has fun with the genre traits and narrative themes it employs.