Randall Cole's film is a very poor effort within the increasingly irrelevant found footage subgenre.
Somebody is playing games with young couple James and Amy (Nick Stahl and Mia Kirschner) and they are not the least bit amused. What begins as an insignificant incident with an odd CD found in the stereo of a car blooms into full-blown paranoia and, naturally, the slow but sure destruction of humdrum suburban bliss.
Randall Cole’s 388 Arletta Avenue pilfers ideas from David Lynch’s Lost Highway, countless slasher films, two key Michael Haneke works (Funny Games and Hidden) and bolts on a found footage set up just for good measure. It almost goes without saying this is no contender, even as a piece of low-rent genre entertainment.
A subplot exploring James’s past ‘crime’ directly references Hidden, sans cryptic and sophisticated historical symbolism. James, we discover, was a high school bully. Yet its sole dramatic function is a total cop out and serves as merely a lame red herring.
So when Amy mysteriously disappears one day, the killer ups the taunting and her husband descends into a mental rot and takes to wandering around with a knife and gun. The found footage aesthetic is supposed to act as conduit to the victim’s increased unease and derangement. However any sense of mounting dread is botched at every turn.
The deliberately muffled and selective sound design, along with use of various colour filters and lenses, works against the material. It should heighten the atmosphere, not wreck it.
Quite why the mystery man goes to such mad lengths in the first place to re-wire a home and workplace with cameras and microphones is left unexplained: To think about these things for too long would make them all fall to pieces like a collapsed pastry.
The only shock this sorry film can muster occurs during the end credits after the lame whodunit ‘reveal’: It appears cult fave, Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) served as 'Executive Producer' of this tripe.
Yet another found footage horror flick…yawn.
A very poor effort within an increasingly irrelevant subgenre.
Cole’s film serves as a reminder to go back and watch the superior works it lifts from.