Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Movie Review: 'Found.' (2012)

By Leah Cifello

I had nightmares about Found.  Whether it was just because it happened to be floating around in my head at the time or whether it truly disturbed me enough to cause such frightening replay, I'm not sure.  I think, however, that it is a testament to the film's power over me that it manipulated my dreams to the point that I woke up physically shaken.  It left me in a dark mood.  I mulled over its implications for hours.  No doubt about it, it stuck with me and impressed itself firmly enough to color the rest of my day... and my night.

Marty's brother Steve keeps a decapitated head in a bowling bag in his closet.  We know this from the start, because Marty tells us.  Every day he slips on yellow rubber gloves and examines the fresh head deposited in place of the old one.  He tells us how wrong horror films get this, the look of a real severed head.  It makes you think about how right this one may have it.

Marty and Steve are obsessed with horror films. Marty seems to prefer monsters and the more fantastic side of horror, while Steve enjoys ultra-sadistic splatter.  They live in a vacuous suburb with their oblivious parents, their mother who babies them and their father who screams at them.  Eventually, Steve catches on to how much Marty knows about his murderous activities, and that is where I end the plot description, because to say more would be criminal.

Ultimately, this is a coming-of-age story – an extremely horrific one.  Much of the runtime consists of Marty, who is 12, and his struggles to fit in with his peers and stand up for himself against bullies.  We see the tension placed upon his only real friendship when the need to not be harassed comes between them.  There is also a fair amount of family drama as both boys chafe at the constraints their parents place on them; their mother thinks she is helping Marty, but is really hurting him and is too wrapped up in herself to notice.

All of this is done very well and isn’t an excuse for later violence as you might expect.  This is really an integral part of the film, and it is as emotionally painful as Steve’s acts of violence are visceral.  That violence starts to occur around the halfway point when Marty finds a copy of a movie called Headless in his brother’s collection and decides to watch it.  It turns out to be a vicious slasher film full of truly disgusting violence, and Marty envisions Steve as the killer in the film, playing out the acts of brutality and using the film as inspiration for his murders.  This brief portion is the only really explicit part of the film; when the real violence occurs, it wisely happens almost entirely offscreen.

Found. earns its right to be called a horror film.  It’s about many different horrors:  the horror of adolescence, of family, of loyalty, of betrayal.  The horror of your life becoming just like one of the frightening films you watch.  The horror of watching a young boy’s mind slowly twisted into something dark through actions he has no real control over.  By the last shot, the monstrousness of the story slams into your psyche like a brick to the head; you know the story doesn’t end here, which is possibly the most frightening realization of all.


  1. I absolutely loved this film, and agree that it's genuinely horrifying. I was totally shaken as I left the theater, and was glad the fest where I saw it scheduled it for the end of the night - because I was done. And yeah... that last shot...

  2. Great review, Leah. With every new review you upload you have me adding another film to my watch list! I must see this one soon.