While the first found footage film arguably come out in the 1960’s, the genre didn’t really started getting notices until The Blair Witch Project came out in 1999. Since then, dozens of films have tried their hand at captivating audiences by shooting their movies using the technique. Horror movies specifically use it more than any other genre. But unfortunately throughout the years it’s getting a little bland and movies that use it come off as cheap and uninspired. Writer / director Paul Owens uses it for his new film Landlocked. But he does it in a way that gives the technique a new lease on life.
After the death of his father, Mason (Mason Owens) returns to his childhood home. He makes one last trip down memory lane before the building is demolished. While sorting through his father’s things he finds a video camera that allows him to look into the past. This causing him to become obsessed with recording as many of the memories as he can before they disppear for good.
While Landlocked is being promoted as a horror film, it really isn’t very scary. There are a couple of jump reactions but that’s about it. The film is more dramatic than anything, with a little bit of science fiction thrown in for good measure. The audience spends more time waiting for something to happen, then things actually happening. And with Mason Owens taking up the majority of the screen time without speaking, the movie can get more than a little boring. While the acting and production value aren’t really something of note, it tells uits story well.
At its heart, Landlocked is a story about sorrow and the pain of letting go. It’s about discovering the past isn’t exactly the way you remember it to be. It’s also about the slowly deteriorating mental state of a man. One whose childhood is more noteworthy to him than his current life. And it’s a sad film that warns viewers about the danger of spending too much time looking backwards. Paul Owens uses the found footage technique in a unique way to tell the story. He switches between a handheld and still cameras for the present, and old grainy VHS tapes for the past.
Landlocked won’t be for everyone. It feels incomplete and constrained at times, and for those wanting their horror movies to scare them, this probably won’t do it. This film is more for those who can look past the low budget and enjoy a good story more than the final product on the screen.