I received the screener for “Lilin’s Brood” on behalf of Some Sirius Ship Productions. You can catch my interview with co-writer/director/star Artii Smith right here.
It seems like one of the more popular genres of film is that of horror. It’s certainly reached a bit of a stand-still as of late but it has withstood the test of time and gone through multiple peaks and valleys. There are many popular sub-genres within horror but I would say one of the top ones in terms of popularity has been found-footage films, especially with recent hits like the Paranormal Activity series, [Rec], The Visit, and going all the way back to The Blair Witch Project. These films are hampered by a major aspect that is required for found-footage: it needs to make sense but at the same time if it is almost too nauseating and shaky it can make for a rather unpleasant viewing experience.
This film involves the story of a new media news team (called W.H.I.S.T.L.E.) who are sent to investigate the strange disappearance of several men that happened to take place at a brothel in the middle of nowhere. There are creepy supernatural elements to the film but suffice to say I don’t want to give away too much so as to not spoil the surprise factor from several of the plot points. This team comes equipped with a ton of camera gear like chest cams, lapel cams, and other such devices, which allows the viewer to see pretty much exactly what a character is seeing at any given moment. The film’s run time is mostly spent on going from character to character as we see their view point depending on where they are located.
I have to say right off the bat that having a story where everyone gets to have their own individual camera in a found-footage movie is a pretty smart way of telling this story. Instead of being forced to keep everyone together with one cameraman (or woman), we allow the characters to split up (as they always do in horror movies) and encounter their own respective horrors. The chest cameras are also a great device in the sense that we can see the POV of the characters but they don’t even have to be conscious. In fact, without going into great detail, there is one particular scene where a character is sleeping but we can see someone standing above them. I almost yelled at the screen for the character to wake up, which is a rare reaction to a film for me. Just because it is “found footage” doesn’t mean it isn’t stylish either. The MansA Mojo Brothers do a great job of making sure that things are sometimes happening in the background and the foreground at the same time, which throws your attention between the two planes of view.
All of the actors are pretty solid across the board and none of the main group of kids try to stand out and act in an over-the-top or scenery-chewing manner or anything like that and this is a good thing because a film like this would lose its realistic appeal with that kind of showmanship. One character in particular that WAS definitely more bombastic and loud was that of Madame Plu, the woman who runs the brothel. It doesn’t throw you though and if anything, it only makes her more effective as the only one that truly runs rampant with the material. It makes her stand out and she is that much more impactful as a character.
If you want to check this film out, you can do so on iTunes or Amazon VOD. I recommend it as it’s a tightly-paced, intense horror flick.
* (Brutal; the worst rating)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)