#31DaysofHorror Evidence Review (Film, 2013)

Evidence Slider If it wasn't for the last two minutes of Evidence, I would be writing a very complimentary review. Unfortunately, I cannot write a review of a film that technically doesn't exist, as those last two minutes literally ruin everything positive Evidence had going for it.

Evidence is found footage slasher meets CSI. A group of detectives is doing your typical, laughable, impossible video editing and enhancement gimmicks to crack a grisly murder case. The case involves a group of friends who charter a mini bus to Vegas, picking up other passengers they don't know along the way. The bus flips over and they're stranded in the middle of nowhere. Stuff happens, and that's left is an explosion with dead bodies everywhere you can see.

The format works surprisingly well for so much of the story. The framing of the four sets of footage--two handicams and two cellphones--is solid. The investigation is just as tense as the found slasher footage and that's the edge so few examining video films miss.

Dale Dickey (Winter's Bone, Iron Man 3) steals the show as Katrina Fleishman. Katrina is central to a big part of the investigation. She's the only passenger on the bus not actually on the official roster. No one knows who she is, and she's hauling around a giant army bag full of cash. Dickey gets one phenomenal scene shot on a cellphone that blows away most off-kilter stranger performances in horror. It's a master class in stealing the show in a horror film. Any single actor in the film had the potential to pull this off (great characters all around), but Dickey is the only one to rise to the occasion.

The mystery of Evidence works because of fire damage to the footage. One of the passengers, Rachel, films everything that happens. She's making a documentary about her friend, Rachel, an actress who just got her big break. She shifts from fluff documentary to acquiring evidence for the police once the first murder happens.

Unfortunately, much of the footage is obscured by artifacting, actual damage to the equipment, and the limitations of consumer camcorders in low light conditions. The detectives investigating the case do everything but stand on their heads and squint to make heads or tails of most of the footage. The destroyed video also helps ground the shaky camerawork in a believable way. When there's no damage, the footage is steady; when it's starts to snow out and stutter, it's bouncing all over the screen.

I cannot even begin to discuss how poor the ending to Evidence is. It is not an exaggeration to say the ending literally ruins everything good about the storytelling device. The big aha moment literally does not work on multiple levels. I count at least four logical fallacies within a 30 second revelation that discredit 88 minutes of solid storytelling. It's just terrible and destroys the whole thing.

Evidence is currently streaming on Netflix. 

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