Found footage films, “The filmmakers die and then the footage is found, it’s really an overused genre”. That is not the ravings of a found footage naysayer but a direct quote from, Little Horror Movie and honestly, it’s one of the most charming things about this film. I am a fan of meta (self-referential) humor in arts and entertainment and Little Horror Movie delivers in a very big (or should I say “little”) way.

 

The film follows Helen (Rebecca Ramon), Einar (Einar Kuusk), and Mark (Cody Wayne Heuer), three content creators, that run a YouTube channel as they travel the world in pursuit of viral vitality. They continue to find themselves in increasingly precarious situations so they may achieve more and more of the almighty “likes”. But we soon begin to see that it is possible to push too far in order to pull audiences in.

One of the greatest things about this film is the realness vibe. The YouTube channel they run, titled “Permanent Residents”, has a very Anthony Bourdain meets Dark Tourist travel show vibe and I dig it. If this was an actual YouTube channel I would probably watch it. The film was actually filmed on location in Casablanca, Morocco so it feels much more immersive and explorative than in a bland overdone location like a scary house or a haunted forest. There is great on-screen chemistry between Helen, Einar, and Mark and I actually believe they might be friends in real life.

That being said there are moments where immersive realness loses grip to choppy needless artsy cuts and unrealistic reactions to outlandish situations. Rebecca, Einar, and Mark attend a Moroccan wedding that is by no means normal, and at no point is anyone even mildly concerned. That may not be an issue for some but that took me out of the scene and elicited frustration (which may have been an artistic intention). Artsy cuts include a scene with Helen bleeding and walking through the city. Absolutely a display of visual art, but its success at moving the plot forward and giving vital information is highly debatable.

The biggest issue in Little Horror Movie is the music. Music and sound can add so much to a horror film. The audio choices in this film might be the scariest thing about it. I found myself constantly being frustrated with the music because it didn’t match the amazing tone of the cinematography and dialogue. Singing birds while on-screen sex is happening isn’t as funny as it sounds. There are also moments of audio fuzz (like the sound you hear when you see “TV snow”). I’m sure it was to simulate the camera going in and out, but some sounds felt out of place. Additionally, there were times when I noticed the audio dialogue not matching up with what the actors were saying. Post filming line changes? Mismatched audio and video? Artistic choice? Either way, I found it to be distracting.

I mentioned before that the film is meta and I loved that. Leaking plot secrets, calling out foreshadowing, demanding character development, and claiming that the camera faces people for no reason in found footage films while they were doing exactly that are just a handful of many examples that make this movie charming and sharp without being overdone or cliché. Characters even change their motives based on the almost self-aware idea of their presence in a found footage film.

The last 21 minutes of the film are by far the best. Einar Kuusk gives a phenomenal performance and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him. His display of emotion was hypnotic and reminded you that this is more than a tongue-in-cheek horror film, it’s an emotional epitaph on this film’s metaphorical tombstone. Reminding everyone why it’s a great horror film and why it deserves to be an official selection at so many film festivals.

Overall this is a great indie horror flick. It has a great story, immersive elements, and talented actors. We live in a world where likes=life. People revolve their lives around the very concept of a like. Therefore, the film’s self-aware humor and very real storyline raise the very real question; how many views is your life worth? It managed to walk the fine line of fantastic and forgettable in the found footage genre and come out victorious. Hats off to writer/producer/director Jerome Cohen Olivar for creating a “likable” Little Horror Movie. If you like found footage films then this is definitely worth your time. If you don’t like found footage films, it might still be worth your time. A Little Horror Movie never hurt anybody. Right? Cue epic movie death montage.

Little Horror Movie
RATING: UR
Runtime: 1hr. 32 Mins.
Directed By:
Jerome Cohen Olivar
Written By:
Jerome Cohen Olivar