Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back From Hell (2011)

Back From Hell

Written & Directed by Leonardo Araneo

Sarah...Manuela Parodi
Alex...Marco Vannini Gandolfi
George...Roberto Zibetti
Claudia...Jennifer Mischiati

Six friends vacationing together rent rooms at an old monastery. When boredom as a result of their isolation sets in, they construct a homemade Ouija board and immediately contact an evil entity that speaks in Latin. Luckily, one of the six is fairly fluent in that dead language and translates.

"Free me from hell," the spirit demands of the group before focusing its attention on expecting mother Sara with "Give me your son."

Even after the group is done playing seance, the spirit refuses to leave, taking up house in George. They accept the assistance offered by the priest next door, and an exorcism is performed, resulting in a drawn out battle between man and monster.

Generally speaking, I am a fan of the found footage/mockumentary style of film, and while this one is passable, it's far from fantastic.

There are a number of poor performances, but the worst of the lot is overblown douchebag George, who was played so outrageous and over the top that there wasn't all that much difference in character once he became possessed.

Those few who complain about motion sickness due to the shaky cam effect prevalent in much of these films will appreciate the fact that this appears to be a handheld steady cam. I never picked up on why they were using such a professional level camera to film their vacation, and the notion of them continuing to film the entire time seems even more unbelievable than usual, but you have to take the good with that bad in these types of films.

Speaking of camera work, there's a sort of built-in "warning system" that alerts you whenever something supernatural is about to occur: the camera goes haywire, distorting the picture and the sound. This may be pseudo-scientifically sound, but it gets tiresome and severely limits any surprise factor the movie might otherwise have had.

Perhaps ironically, the best scene doesn't even involve the supernatural. It's a tense and violent scene where non-believer Alex confronts the priest for holding back information about what's happening. If this kind of heart and power went into the rest of the film, we might have really had something here.

The ending lacked the shock-surprise that has become a hallmark of the subgenre, and, frankly, left me more than a little confused. Either it was dumb, or I am.

Me not sure.

There are plenty better films dealing with the same subject matter, found footage or not. You'd be better off seeking one of them out.

AKA: Ex Inferis

Not Rated
95 Minutes

"The purpose of mammary glands is to allow men to motorboat them and get aroused."

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