Found is an extremely effective little film”

by Nav Qateel

Although I do enjoy horror very much, I’m not always drawn to the extreme kind and when I do it’s usually Japanese or Korean. After having heard nothing but great things about Scott Schirmer’s micro-budget effort Found., I couldn’t wait to find out if all the rumors of how horrific it was, were true, because, let’s face it, how often are we let down by all the hype? I’m happy to report that all I’ve heard is very true, and then some.

Found. is an extremely effective little film that stays with you for a long time after watching, which for me is the sign of a great movie. How many films, with horror being the worst offender, do any of us think about shortly after viewing? Interestingly, Found is considered so effective and brutal that Australia refuses to certify it. Having now seen the film I can understand why yet in this day-and-age where you can see worse on the internet, It feels a bit pointless and will only serve to help with Found‘s marketing!

Where Found differs quite a bit from other horror films, is the realistic drama and character-driven aspect of the story, as we get to see a coming-of-age tale with a massive difference. The 12-year-old Marty comes across a human head in big brother Steve’s room while he’s poking around doing what a little brother does. Marty learns Steve is a serial-killer and being that Marty is a fan of horror, he’s also very curious. What follows is a worst-case-scenario in a dysfunctional family who, on the surface, look very much like any other family.

Directed by
Scott Schirmer
Gavin Brown, Ethan Philbeck, Phyllis Munro
Release Date
Nav’s Grade: B

Originally made in 2012, Found is based on Todd Rigney’s novel of the same name, and covers so many topics, like bullying, growing up, responsibility and being the younger brother. The one that was focused on more was Marty being bullied at school, and even at a church meet, by bigger kids. Steve’s advice to the problem is for Marty to fight back, and this is the advice most guys’ would give. But Marty takes things too far when he does finally act, and this is down to the influence of Steve. Schirmer takes great pains to emphasise Marty’s predicament, but Steve is the one with serious emotional issues, and you have to wonder if we’re simply seeing what Steve went through at school, being repeated by his kid brother. This could be part of the reason Steve is committing serial murder based on race, with most of his victims being black.

Technically speaking Found suffers from not having a budget, but Schirmer has managed to put together a film that is elevated by an engrossing story, so that we no longer notice the rough edges showing and simply stare in awe, and eventually, disbelief, at all that’s unfolding before us. What made me instantly hooked was this matter-of-fact delivery from Marty as his voiceover explained how he found the heads in Steve’s room. One minute Marty is doing the things we expect from any normal 12-year-old boy, then he’d be slipping on rubber gloves to handle whatever new head Steve has brought home.

While Found was never a chore to watch or a single scene wasted, the ending is probably what most will remember. Yet the most shocking violence comes from what is implied or heard, rather than what is seen, which is more-often-than-not the most effective. Considering this was Gavin Brown’s first movie, he handled the role of Marty like an seasoned pro, and practically breezed through the movie. Between Ethan Philbeck, another first-timer, and the convincing performance of Gavin Brown, I honestly don’t think Found would have hit the mark so well. Schirmer has done wonders with his tiny budget, but finding a broader audience for a film of this nature will be difficult. This really isn’t an easy film to sit through, but if you think you can stand to watch a real horror movie, then I invite you to watch Found.

25th May 2014