Runtime: 94 minutes
Release Date: July 19, 2013
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Detective Reese (Stephen Moyer, True Blood) and Detective Burquez (Radha Mitchell, Silent Hill) are two detectives tasked with going over the brutal footage left behind after a murderous slaying in New Mexico. Through video footage we meet Rachel, an aspiring filmmaker who can't seem to put down her camera long enough to see what's happening in front of her. She films her best friend Leann as Leann's boyfriend proposing to her and as she turns him down.
Later footage reveals that while Tyler was heartbroken at her rejection, he reluctantly agreed to go with the two girls to Las Vegas on a trip they planned beforehand. They make friends with the others on the bus, including a teenage runaway, a stripper (excuse me, dancer), and a woman who seems way too worried about the bag she brought with her.
The driver takes them off the main roads and onto dirt roads, claiming that it's the way he always goes. After driving over something left in the road, the bus flips over and crashes. Everyone manages to escape relatively unharmed and finds their way back to a seemingly abandoned little town they passed earlier. As the sun sets, the group finds themselves stalked and killed by a menacing figure with a blow torch, leaving the two detectives to discover exactly what happened that night.
My main problem with found footage movies is that the found footage element gets to be too much at times. That it why I'm glad the director set this movie up the way he did. It jumps back and forth between the detectives in the present day with the footage filmed by the people on the bus. I thought it might be a little jarring, but it actually plays well.
I've always had a fear of drowning, but after watching this movie, I turned to my roommate and told him that I had a new worst way to die. There is a scene where the figure in the mask with the blow torch attacks a woman and literally cuts her arm off with the torch before setting her on fire. The way he kind of just stands back and watches her burn for a few second before walking away was actually chilling.
It seems like a lot of movies have to showcase stereotypes, but Evidence did a smart job of not falling back too much on those stereotypes. We naturally have the slightly dorky teenager who somehow knows magic tricks and the guy pining over the girl he loves, but the movie jumps between the characters enough that no one person takes center stage and no one stereotype takes over the movie.
While the scenes set in the abandoned town were pretty intense, the same can't be said of the scenes set in the present day. There are literally scenes where Moyer will say one line to Mitchell, she'll nod her head, and then they both go back to watching the footage they have. It felt like too much exposition or as if the director wasn't sure we would pick up on something that happened, so he had to take that moment to let us in on what they found. Thanks, but I watched that scene and I get it.
Other than that, I'd recommend Evidence. It's currently playing on Netflix.