Dir. Nick McAnulty and Brian Allan Stewart, Canada, 96 mins
There's a lot of random movies that I stumble across at Film Gutter, and this is one of those cases. Never heard of it, didn't know the first thing about it but looked the right sort of film with the right sort of flavour. It's apparent in the opening minutes that we're entering the world of found footage once again, which is a double-edged sword – although I'd say that there's more bad than good for me personally. But as always I was determined to keep an open mind and not approach it with too many preconceptions.
And I have to say it wasn't bad. Not wonderful, certainly, but not bad. The movie follows young couple Jennifer and Farhang, who – at some point before we enter the narrative – have decided they are going to kill somebody. We certainly don't launch into that willy-nilly at all, and I think it's quite interesting to see the serious planning and build-up to what they are going to do. We see them at the hardware store picking out the best axes and saws for the job, getting good-size tarps, plotting what they are going to do with the bodies after the fact. It's practically a military operation and the two are happy, excited even to be working towards this end game.
The first tensions arise when Jennifer proposes a victim, a businessman of some kind who is rude and unpleasant to her on the street. Farhang was keen to avoid any personal connection, so is keen to stay away for this gentleman, even though he follows along on their stakeouts to find out more about him. And eventually Jennifer decides he is right and brings them home a homeless victim...
I won't say too much more about this one plot-wise. It's pretty gruesome in places, the effects are realistic enough and I think the performances are OK from all involved. The two actors even keep their own names for the characters. The highlight of the movie is the real unease and relationship trouble that actually committing the act causes, as Jennifer revels in it and Farhang feels pangs of conscience. That's probably a more interesting angle than the actual violence and death, which is no bad things.
However I can't give it a hugely high rating, and here's why – in fact it's something I intimated at earlier. They obviously have had a conversation some point beforehand about deciding to kill a totally random person. And it just left me wondering why? The two don't seem especially unpleasant, or violent, or psychopathic. And that's what jarred me the most of all – if these two pretty normal folks are just going to wake up one day and say 'hey, why don't we kill someone' I would love some more motivation and justification. Without that, it just feels a bit like 'Five Go and Commit a Murder', like it's all some wonderfully jolly jape and a big adventure they'll look back on and laugh. Characters need motivation, and ultimately that's what we're missing here – and that does have a genuinely detrimental effect on the movie. Capture Kill Release does a number of things right, but in doing this major one wrong very much limits what it can hope to achieve as a movie.
RATING: 5/10. Capture Kill Release is a strange misnomer of a title, now I think about it – the first two are certainly happening but I didn't see anyone getting released here at all. Anyway, there was promise here and the found footage style was used better than in many movies. The acting wasn't stunning but it was certainly believable, and the relationship element and the impact that their decision to kill has on the relationship is pretty effective. However the fact that there's simply no motivation for their actions and nothing in their apparent characteristics for why they would do it is just a massive stumbling block for me on a personal level. It's something fundamental to storytelling they seems to be egregiously missed here, and it loses several marks for that, so it's only a fair mark of 5/10.