A child’s imagination is unbridled. Curiosity, limitless. So when a watchful, thoughtful young boy, with a love for graphic novels and horror movies, and far savvier than his parents give him credit for, discovers severed heads in duffle bags in his brother’s bedroom, he may not necessarily react in the same manner most adults would.
The opening scene is disturbing enough, and the proceeding unaffected quality of the filmmaking that normally would hamper a low-budget slasher film actually enhances it. It’s unnerving and unpredictable, as there is already a casual nature to the way the young moppy-haired boy operates. The bullying too, done by peers as well as his older brother, is loud and uncomfortable.
It’s all to set you up for an onslaught of blood and frights that come slowly and decided. Marty, wide-eyed and freckle-faced, collects some very adult horror films and watches them with a friend. The way in which he sees horror, though, changes – they become all too real. The grainy texture of the old scary feature becomes crisp and digital; the kind of horror audiences digest in today’s age. As he watches, we watch too, sometimes repulsed, sometimes curious. The B-movie on screen, with gore and nudity goes to extremes, confronting all viewers.
He looks away at times, watching through slightly open eyes at others. Maybe we look away too, but we’re given an excuse: a disgusting murder isn’t shown in its entirely, but we hear the knife penetrate the victim’s stomach, and we hear her scream and sob until she can longer.
The depravity continues. We watch both the impressionable viewer and the horror on screen, becoming reluctantly a voyeur who isn’t given warning, and quickly must decide whether or not to look away.
Thankfully there is a reprieve; at least visually, and at least until a terribly powerful and unsettling ending, which builds on what was an already gruesome second act. The lengthy metaphor continues to play out, challenging the viewer about his or her love of this questionable genre. Not unlike last year’s The Cabin in the Woods, although on a much more intimate scale here, the film wishes to question and subvert a genre while embracing it to the excesses.
It’s completely effective, troublingly memorable, and smartly executed. Be warned: there is nothing nice about this, Found is disturbing from chilling start to inexplicable finish.