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REVIEW // 'The Fear Footage' brings the fear

On April 19th, 2016, Deputy Leo Cole of the Darkbluff, Maryland Sheriff's Department vanished after being dispatched to 11628 Hangmanor Rd. The next morning, his body camera was found. And thus begins the wraparound segment of the found footage anthology horror film, The Fear Footage.

We follow Deputy Leo Cole as he is called to investigate numerous reports of the reappearance of a house that had previously been thought to have been demolished. Upon entering the house he finds the aptly titled The Fear Footage, an increasingly bizarre collection of VHS recordings. In this we are introduced to 3 segments of the film, ranging from killer clowns to ritualistic murders.

In "Birthday Party" a young boy gets more than he bargained for on his birthday with his newly minted camera after a rash of mysterious clown sightings. In the film's best segment "Storm Chasers", we find a group of risk inclined men that find themselves in the midst of a different type of storm after accidentally hitting someone with their car. Their excitement quickly leads to a descent in madness. The moments in the dark, graffiti covered tunnels are haunting and the creature lurking there will stick with the viewer long after the final moments of the film. In "Speak No Evil" we are introduced to a recovering drug addict that has cried wolf one too many times. Are those children's voices he keeps hearing? And does it have something to do with that church that burnt down? Scared and alone, he sets up a camera to record the strange occurrences to prove to his ex that he's not just making stuff up to cover up addiction.

The Fear Footage is clearly a love letter to the found footage genre. The director's intent was to simply create something creepy, and he succeeded in spades. There are genuine moments of tension in the film, with effective jump scares scattered throughout. There was careful thought given to the sound design of the film, cheerfully displaying how sound can elevate a scare.

While the collection of stories are not revolutionary in terms of storytelling, they are slickly produced and have a strong sense of foreboding dread that seeps through almost every frame of the film, amplified by a clever use of sound.

When it comes time for you to watch The Fear Footage make sure to turn the lights off, turn the volume up, and expect nightmares.

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