I was getting fed up with the ‘found footage’ genre after watching the exceedinly boring ‘Paranormal Activity’ sequels and the tons of clones out there, the last one being the very average ‘The Devil Inside’. I was mildly intrigued with ‘Chronicle’ when its preview hit the Internet last year but still was skeptic as to what charm would this take on superheroes would bring to the genre.
After watching ‘Chronicle’ today though its safe to say that its a worthy addition to the genre. ‘Chronicle’ follows the story of 3 youngsters who gains superpowers, accidentally ofcourse, when they stumble upon a crystal beneath the ground. Staying true to the tagline “Boys will be Boys/What will you do?”, initially they use it for pure pranks like blowing up a girls’ skirt, scaring a kid and all though towards the end, what started out as fun gets serious ending in pure chaos.
Blending the best of superhero and found-footage genre’s, Director Josh Trank includes nifty techniques, in an otherwise outdated genre, to keep it fresh and exciting. Techniques like how the protagonists of the movie constantly capture every moment of their escapades (which I will leave you to watch). There are many exhilarating moments when these guys finds their new abilities, most of which will keep you at the edge of your seats. The complete lack of a score and brilliant sound effects makes it more of an exciting experience. The debut cast did a fine job too, of which Dane Dehaan stands out playing a disturbed Andrew Detmer (reminded me a little of a young Leonardo DiCaprio). Another thing which I loved is the less usage of the ‘shaky camera’ effect. Now I don’t know if its deliberately intended (maybe coz the youngsters gets some expertise in telekinesis) or a possible flaw in direction. ‘Chronicle’ was primarily shot at Cape Town and the locale adds to the creepiness and ambience of the movie…the climatic changes, the eerie morning light or even the rain, it all adds up to the wonderful visuals.
On the other hand ‘Chronicle’ goes spiraling a bit downwards towards the finale due to its predictability. Though its entirely the genre’s fault as its inevitable for it to become a ‘found-footage’. I was rather not pleased with the CG either for which the budget could be blamed for. At times I could distinguish the almost ‘perfectly rendered’ legos and car crashes with the real ones.
In the end ‘Chronicle’ was an absolutely fantastic watch carving a niche of its own in an otherwise mundane genre populated by the ‘horror pigeonhole’. Two thumbs up for Josh Trank for reviving the genre making it a worthy successor to ‘The Blair Witch Project’ & ‘Cloverfield’.