Monday, April 5, 2010

The First Person Perspective

So,we were watching The Fourth Kind (2009) the other night... While the cheestacular 'real footage' was being played we started chatting. We realized how much we LOOOVE movies that are shot 'home movie style'.

We started naming all the movies we love that are shot this way: The St. Francisville Experiment (2000), The Blair Witch Project (1999), Cloverfield (2008), District 9 (2009), Paranormal Activity (2009)... All first person video, all phenomenal and super duper enjoyed by yours truly.


We don't mind being patronized with statements warning the audience of extremely disturbing REAL events that remain UNSOLVED!!! Oooooooooh. Scary. No, really, scary. We'll scoff at their warnings and then shite our pants through an entire movie.

The St. Francisville Experiment is an experience. We laughed through the first few minutes. We teased. We criticized. And then our cackles turned into caca. It's hard to find, but if you get your Cin-Ob fingies on this one, give it a go. Get your diapies out, poppa da popcorn and get ready to let go of your bowels.

The Blair Witch Project was a fun one too. The actors were unknown. And as it turned out, the unknowns could act pretty well. There weren't too many moments that felt cheezy. The fact that there was no script probably helped the realness factor. We're chickens so we shat through this one too.


Cloverfield wasn't claiming to be real, but it still had that amazing reality factor. You know, the reality in which gigantic creatures emerge from the sea and detroy major cities. Ok, fine then, it's not so realistic but it was so well done and made me feel like I was running for my life with them.

Some people really don't enjoy the first-person perspective. Some get motion sickness, some prefer the typical Hollywood formula. It's not often movies invite us in to experience the story alongside the characters. When they're running, you're running. When they're hiding, you're hiding. This is why we consider this style an experience.


District 9 featured the handheld video method during scenes of alien eviction. Not to mention the documentary style interviews that preceded most of the alien plotline. Again, the film wasn't pretending to capture a real historic event, but it did make us feel like this could possibly be a future true story. We were so sure this could happen after seeing this gem that we are currenlty building a bunker under our house, complete with DVD player and surround sound.


Now we come to Paranormal Activity. This surprise hit featured home video footage of a young couple experiencing some seriously terrifying shenanigans in their home. It was convincing. It was totally real without overly trying to convince us it was real. The filmmakers didn't toss in ridiulous sound effects and eerie background music to increase our fear. The silence was much scarier. Bravo.

Screenwriters BEWARE! When using this style to entertain the masses, be sure you've done it right. There's a fine line between patronizing and terrifying. Ridiculous and realistic.

Have we missed any amazing first-person films? Let us know!

5 comments:

holly wynne said...

I'm seriously obsessed with this type of filmmaking as well. I think it gets dismissed as gimmick now, and I'm sure in some cases that's valid, but you have no human soul if every hair on your body didn't stand on end at that last scene of The Blair Witch Project.

Also, thanks for the heads-up on The St. Francisville Experiment! I'd not heard of it, and sadly, it's not on Netflix, but I saved it to my queue for when it becomes available.

holly wynne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

I liked 'Blair Witch', but I never really appreciated the movie until someone reminded me about 'the corner'....

Paranormal Activity was ok, but the last ten minutes scared the poop out of me....

Cloverfield was a good movie.... Did you hear about people getting motion sickness? A lot of camera shaking in that movie....

I'm going to go rent District 9 and St. Francis....

nothatwasacompliment said...

check out the movie "June 9" if you can find it. that's a pretty freaky one...

i wrote a review of it in my blog.

http://nothatwasacompliment.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/june-9-2008/

Angie said...

Great suggestion, nothatwasacompliment! We'll be checking that title out!