A contender for the worst found footage horror movie ever, The Atticus Institute deserves every bit of scorn that is thrown its way because of the wasted opportunity. An opportunity to do something different, to tell a different story. Something it seems to suggest it is going too at first.
Well, don’t buy into it. It’s just another possession/jump scare-a-thon that visibly runs out of steam. Its ending, one of the most insulting things about it, suggests that they literally had no idea how to finish the story so just gave up & called it quits.
It’s simply stunning to see such laziness actually get made. That at some point someone, somewhere pitched another found-footage that, regardless of the intriguing opening, devolves into a lazy possession flick.
Filmed ‘documentary’ style, we see the footage of the events alongside interviews of the people who experienced them. The plot surrounds Dr Henry West who founded the Atticus Institute in the 1970s. The aim of the institute was to prove that supernatural abilities did exist in humans.
Initially we see these attempts & how the doctors constantly came across problems like fakers & people who just thought they were wasting their time. This part of the movie is actually really interesting & felt like a legit documentary.
That is until Judith Winstead (Rya Kihlstedt) comes to them. She displays powers unlike anything they’ve ever seen before but her unusual behaviour begins to cause them even bigger problems. Like a slow motion car crash, you want to turn away but can’t through the sheer shock & spectacle of it all. Watching an interesting idea veer so wildly off the road until it is unrecognisable. Why on Earth did those involved think we’d want another possession found footage horror!?
The movie attempts to recover by introducing shady government figures who want to weaponise Judith’s abilities. Which makes no sense as all we’ve seen her do up to this stage is scream a lot, move things around & light candle flames. For a movie that takes itself so seriously this plot point is absurd.
The documentary style has been done before & by far better movies. In fact that applies to almost every aspect of this trash. How & why all this information is coming out now is never explained. In fact many of the speakers end with saying they can’t reveal what happened after the final big event even though they’ve just spent time detailing everything from said event! If this movie was a true story it would have just proved the devil/demons are real…why would what happened to the final survivor even matter!?
It’s an infuriating watch because it showed promise story-wise. Devoid of characters, decent acting, decent visuals, decent scares or a satisfying plot. The Atticus Institute is the ultimate proof that the well of paranormal possession movies is dry & all we’re doing now is drinking mud & dirt.
The Atticus Institute