Another found-footage romp that should’ve remained lost.

by Ed Blackadder

Even though there are too many of these found-footage flicks being thrown at us constantly, I quite enjoy them when they’re done properly, or at least some effort has gone into creating a scary atmosphere. The Paranormal Activity franchise is a perfect example of how they should be done. But The Warning is most definitely a far cry from those scarers. It fails in just about every way it can, without any build-up or atmosphere; nothing remotely scary happening; the actual story is nonsensical and the actors appear to be running around like headless chickens.

The Warning
Directed by
Alexander Williams
Simon Phillips, Marc Pickering, Grace Vallorani
Release Date
Out Now
Ed’s Grade: D

The date is 21st December 2012, which according to the Mayan calendar, is when the world is supposed to end. At a hospital in England, a baby has gone missing and a nurse has committed suicide by jumping through a window and falling to her death. The suicide has been caught on CCTV and the police turn up with a cameraman on tow who is filming to keep a record of the police procedures for future reference. Between CCTV and the hand-held camera, we get to watch the drama unfold.

At first there are quite a few cops milling around but soon there are only two. Detective Robert Edwards (Simon Phillips) and PC Ray (Peter Barrett). Both of these actors appear together in numerous cheapos with the most recent the awful Shame the Devil, where Phillips plays another cop but in the exact same manner and could easily be interchangeable without anyone noticing. The camera person, Craig (Marc Pickering), is the third member of the team who runs around pointing his camera while the others look for clues.

The entire scenario and the way the detective is ordering people about is unrealistic and adds to the already many problems The Warning has. We also get small titles popping up to tell us that this person went missing yet we rarely get to see anybody disappear. All the police officers who were there at the start of the film vanish with no explanation given, leaving the main trio to try to figure out where the baby went.

The big “reveal” was a non entity and the attempts at scaring us were laughable. We’d catch an image of a darkened figure, accompanied by a loud clanging sound to remind us that were meant to be terrified. This is director Alexander Williams’ first solo project as his last was as co-director with another director who I also find talentless, Paul Tanter, where they excreted the crime thriller, Jack Falls. Williams’ attempt at a found-footage horror is poor with no understanding of how to build tension to offer even a bit of a pay-off. Instead, he has the cast overacting rather than having them try something more natural.

What we’re left with is a bland low-budget film ($500 thousand) that, on the surface, has decent production values but little else. There is nothing remotely interesting or scary and we spend ninety-minutes watching Edwards play hunt-the-baby with the occasional try at scaring us without any reward. This is one to avoid as I found little in the prophetically titled, The Warning, worth bothering about. Most definitely not recommended.