Char Man is a found footage documentary that sees three men set out to create a fake documentary about the Ojai Vampire. It doesn’t go to plan but as luck would have it, the trio stumble across a different legend. The legend of the Char Man.
Written and directed by Kurt Ela and Kipp Tribble who also star in the movie alongside Nick Greco. Char Man doesn’t do anything new or fresh in regards to found footage, we’ve seen it all before and this movie ticks all the boxes. It will frustrate as much as any found footage ever has with shaky camera work, out of focus shots and un-listenable audio.
For all its faults though, Char Man does get some things right.
It’s got a spooky vibe and creates nice atmosphere and drives up tension. The initial Ojai Vampire plan for the trio is bland and uninteresting and the first third of the movie sees their plan slowly fall apart. It helps build the characters somewhat and make relationships clear until they eventually come across the Char Man legend.
The trio make the abrupt change for their documentary and the film shifts focus ramping up strange occurrences for the filmmakers. It all starts quietly enough…the water faucets keep turning on by themselves. A prop doll disappears then reappears. When looking back through footage someone is seen outside the window while they sleep. It’s effectively creepy.
Is it the Char Man? Or is it someone local trying to scare them away? Law enforcement doesn’t seem to care and the locals are very unfriendly. Just what is actually going on in this town?
By the end we’re none the wiser, truth be told. Char Man has an abrupt ending that doesn’t really answer any of the questions we had. That in itself is an issue but the sudden finish works in regards to the story. It’s a mystery and ends mysteriously.
When compared to the huge amount of found footage horror out there, Char Man sits right in the middle. It’s far from the best but it’s also far from the worst.