‘The Atticus Institute’ actually uses found footage the right way

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - February 09, 2015
‘The Atticus Institute’ actually uses found footage the right way

The found footage genre is a tricky one even on the best of days, but there is a method to making it work in the storytellers favor.  The Atticus Institute manages to hijack a faux documentary type of style to make a surprisingly effective tale of possession without resorting to anything overtly hokey or cheap in order to get the scares across.

It’s the fall of 1976 and a small psychological institute named the Atticus Institute along with its founder Dr Henry West (William Mapother) becomes the home for the only government acknowledged case of possession by a demonic entity.  Soon after the US military takes control of the facility in an attempt to weapon it.  The details an unbelievable events are finally being declassified and told here in an attempt to learn the truth of what actually happened to poor Judith Winstead (Rya Kihlstedt).

While it certain isn’t going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the demon possession genre, The Atticus Institute is a solid and well told affair that uses the story device of ‘found archival footage’ the right way, rather than hammering us with nonsense like shaky-cam’s and cheap jump scares.  It actually develops a story that ropes us and gets us a little creeped out by the end of it all.

As fake documentaries go, The Atticus Institute is actually pretty darn solid as writer/director Chris Sparling sets up a solid little yarn.  He uses the format well and doesn’t over populate the movie with anything unnecessary as it builds towards what it wants to do.  It’s very well shot and takes great care to give us as much of an authentic and dated feel  as it can with some very strong production values and going out of its way to make what was ultimately very little, feel as important as possible.  The film simply maximized its atmosphere, which is often easier said than done but shows promise to see what Sparling could do with a few extra bucks to play with.

The cast was strong but to be fair not much was required of them.  William Mapother is probably the most recognizable face in the entire thing as Dr. Henry West and he gets in way over his head try to go deeper into the problems manifested by his patient Judith Winstead.  To her credit Rya Kihlstedt does go to over the top with her performance but manages to unfurl a slow a creepy turn as a woman possessed by god only knows what.

With a tagline like “From A Producer of The Conjuring and Annabelle you’d be right to at least be a little concerned but The Atticus Institute manages to do enough right and it makes for a fun possession story, and while it will hardly light the world on fire, you’ll never be bored.

Picture and sound quality on the BD are solid and the special features include a look at the making of The Atticus Institute and some deleted scenes.

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.