Considering it’s a found-footage horror, Mockingbird actually comes up with an interesting premise. 3 different people find a video camera wrapped up in a box on their doorsteps. Each believes they have won a competition but can’t quite remember which one they entered to get the camera. With the promise of more prizes, we have a couple, Tom & Emmy who use the camera to record their normal home life before sending their young daughters off with their uncle.
Beth, a college girl bored & alone figures the camera could help relieve some of that boredom. Then we have Leonard, an self-proclaimed loser that still lives with his mum who seems to have different instructions to the rest which include dressing up in clown make-up & having random strangers kick him in the balls.
As the night goes on…things begin to turn sinister as it is revealed that the cameras are permanently on…there is no way to switch them off. Through notes, Tom, Emmy & Beth are instructed to keep filming or their will be consequences. Meanwhile Leonard in full creepy clown make-up races around town trying to fulfil his own set of instructions.
Tom, Emmy & Beth all come under attack from forces outside their homes & as their fear increases so do the games being played. Who is pulling the strings? Who knows? The movie won’t resolve that for you just like it won’t resolve why these particular people were chosen for this.
In fact by the end so much is unresolved that you’ll be left scratching your head. For starters the idiocy of the characters involved is infuriating. The couple Tom & Emmy even have a gun yet they act like they are coming under attack from multiple sources. This only begins to make sense when later in the film it is revealed that the string-puller has involved their daughters too.
Perhaps the only relatable one is Leonard as his life is so bad that the possibility of winning huge sums of money is believable. His desperation is matched only by his enthusiasm to do whatever his notes say.
The movie is one big plan for all camera holders to effectively meet. Credit can be given for the way in which the movie approaches this & it isn’t instantly obvious just what is about to happen.
However this could be put down to how little you see.
As I said at the start Mockingbird is a found-footage movie so that means we get prolonged moments of pure darkness, shakY cam so bad it will make you feel sick & far too many close-ups of nothing. I never want to see one more out of focus shot of basically nothing. It’s not scary, it’s not effective, it’s not smart & it is far from unique.
In horror I believe less is more but for massive parts of this movie nothing happens. The scenes with Beth are probably the worst of the bunch as she behaves so irrationally when it seems like she could have just run. Fear? In a film like this fear seems to make you unbelievably stupid, especially when you’re clearly not safe in your home.
A terrible found-footage movie, a bad horror movie. The concept, while interesting just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Was it left purposely ambiguous for a potential sequel?