UK Release Date: 25th September 2017
Runtime: 95 minutes
Director: Nick McAnulty, Brian Allen Stewart
Writer: Nick McAnulty
Starring: Jennifer Fraser, Farhang Ghajar, Jon Gates, Rich Piatkowski
Synopsis: The desire to commit the perfect murder out of morbid curiosity puts severe strain on the relationship between a married couple – one of whom is far more driven to kill than the other.
There’s a certain quaint surprise in 2017 to the arrival of a found footage film. Just a few years ago, it seemed as if every horror movie that appeared in cinemas boasted a shaky cam style and the annoying spectacle of some beleaguered teen weeping into the camera in extreme, sweaty close-up á la Blair Witch Project. The sub-genre has pretty much died a death since then, but it has returned to UK DVD now with Capture Kill Release. It’s a nasty horror film that has an intriguing central premise about a couple driven to kill by curiosity, but executes it in a way that’s grubby, dull and not in any way innovative.
Jen (Jennifer Fraser) and Farhang (Farhang Ghajar) are a happily married couple who seem to live a life of relative bliss. Jen, however, has just bought a video camera and has decided to document every moment of their lives. Following a strange trip to a hardware store, it becomes clear that Jen and Farhang are planning to carry out a murder, just to satisfy some sort of morbid curiosity. Jen scouts out a number of potential victims, including homeless man Gary (Jon Gates) and a privileged businessman (Rich Piatkowski), who is having an affair. As the deed gets closer, Farhang begins to have doubts about what they are planning to do.
On the face of it, Capture Kill Release has a really interesting premise. We aren’t watching a slow descent into murder; we are being dropped right into the midst of a plot to kill. These are characters who we meet when they’ve already settled on an extreme pastime and we follow them as they get closer and closer to actually having to bring those fantasies to life. Unfortunately, this potentially compelling dynamic is delivered via irritating and unnecessary use of found footage, which adds very little.
Directors Nick McAnulty and Brian Allen Stewart clearly think the technique creates intimacy and claustrophobia, but it actually just gets in the way of telling the story. The editing is choppy, jumping from one location to another and assembling a patchwork of a story rather than a coherent depiction of how the relationship between the two people develops. Jennifer Fraser and Farhang Ghajar both deliver believable, natural performances, even if the choice to use their real names for the characters feels as much like a cheap gimmick as the shooting style does.
There’s also no getting away from the fact that Capture Kill Release is a nasty film. Worse still, it’s a nasty film with absolutely nothing to say. It purports to investigate the breakdown of a relationship in the face of one of them descending into extreme psychopathy, but never deals with that in a way that’s anything more than superficial. Fraser’s character is entirely irredeemable and, although her performance is convincing, there isn’t much room to explore the nuance of why she wants to drown a cat in a sink or hack a human body to death over a bathtub. The film just wants to watch her do it.
Capture Kill Release feels like a film that’s going to build to a violent crescendo and, as promised by the premise, there’s certainly plenty of gore flowing in the final moments. As is often the case with found footage, though, the bedlam often obscures the action and this definitely robs some of the horror of the visceral impact it could otherwise have had. It’s a film that runs for just over 90 minutes, but still feels slow, ponderous and ultimately far too disjointed to work.
Deleted scenes and trailers. Not an inspiring selection.
Pop or Poop?
There are a number of elements of Capture Kill Release that suggest there’s an intriguing and exciting horror film lurking somewhere within its DNA. The finished product, though, is a grim and gruesome movie that doesn’t have any thematic sophistication. It has natural performances at its heart, but is hamstrung by its devotion to a tired found footage gimmick that has no benefit at all.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.
Capture Kill Release is available on DVD in the UK now, courtesy of Eureka Entertainment.