Anyone who knows me knows I have a love/hate relationship with the “found footage” concept of movie making. Mostly it’s hate, with only a tiny percentage, like 3-4% of love for it, and in recent years we’ve gotten a glut of demon possession movies for reasons I can’t explain, and some of them have gone the dreaded “found footage” route. None of them have piqued my interest enough to make me want to review them, mush less watch their trailers. Honestly, when I read a press release for a new flick there are trigger words that if I see them I read no further: “found footage,” “demon possession,” “home invasion,” “psychopath,” “revenge,” “rape,” “slasher,” “psycho,” there are others, but these examples best represent the type of horror movies I don’t generally gravitate towards despite having a few of their better celluloid executions in my DVD library (aka The Conjuring, The Exorcist, The Hitcher, Basic Instinct, Halloween I-III, Friday The 13th, the original), so when I began to first see news of The Taking Of Deborah Logan on the net I quickly started to ignore it.
The ‘Taking’ in the title easily suggested to me a rape/home invasion/revenge scenario, and over the ensuing months as the movie rolled out, I didn’t read anything about it or even watch the trailer; I think it was another review who actually clued me in to it being about demon possession, one that he actually gave a positive review to. This registered slightly with me, but that was it. Then I had another friend tell me he had rented it and loved it. Again, another slight acknowledgement that, maybe, this might not be like all those other “found footage demon possession films.” The clincher, however, didn’t come until a review copy of a movie I didn’t request was sent to me, and on this disc just so happened to be a trailer for Deborah Logan. Remembering those two friends I have and their glowing reviews of it, I decided, ‘okay, sure, what the fuck, let’s finally take a look at this trailer.’ That was pretty much it. The trailer for The Taking Of Deborah Logan actually (Jesus, I think I’ve used that word far too much in this review) made me want to see it. I mean, even the trailer showed some genuinely creepy moments and the plot actually (oh, my God, not again) sounded unique.
Well, now that I wanted to review it I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to since it had already hit disc a full month prior and generally PR firms don’t hand out review copies that far after a disc’s release. Eh, it couldn’t hurt to try, so I did and what do you know they actually (I must be stopped, seriously, again?) had some copies left. So, here I am penning the review and here you are reading it.
One of the things I liked about the movie was the storyline. It’s one of those flicks that starts out not being about anything supernatural as this documentary crew singles this Deborah Logan (Jill Larson) and her daughter, Sarah (Anne Ramsey), out because Deb has Alzheimer’s and this is what the doc is supposed to be about, but as they set up residence at the house, install video cameras, and get to know her they reluctantly come to the conclusion the supernatural is involved, but this conclusion comes only in the last act. Before that everyone tries to keep their heads in the box and think along rational, scientific means, even the doctors, when she’s finally put into a hospital, consider it a case of perhaps split personality, but it’s the puking up of dirt and earth worms that has Sarah finally considering the paranormal.
I like that the filmmakers didn’t try to compete with the master of “demon possession” movies, William Friedkin, in concocting this tale. This isn’t even about the devil or a possession by a demon. Demonic, yes, but not strictly a something from the pit of hell. And in that I found the movie playing subconsciously with Lovecraftian tropes. One of many key words that instantly gravitates me to a movie.
I can’t go too deeply into the exact plot for there is a mystery connected to it as to why Deb Logan was singled out for possession, aside from already being easy prey because of her disease. The final act treads a little bit into Blair Witch territory, but that was all right since that’s one of the extremely rare “found footage” films that still work for me.
I liked the “realism” used in the two or three scenes where characters had to go into a darkened room and nobody wanted to go first. The two women, Sarah, and Mia (Michelle Ang), the chick in charge of the documentary, always pushed one of the two guys she had working for her, Gavin (Brett Gentile) and Luis (Jeremy DeCarlos), into the room each and every time. And neither guy wanted to be the first. I liked that, it was so far from the fantasy in movies of people doing the same thing with hardly a fear in their bones, or striding in like they’re gonna be the hero.
And of those two aforementioned guys, Gavin, the smartest one, in my opinion, said, ‘fuck you, I’m outta here,’ and he got in the truck and left the movie. If I had experienced those same things, and, yes, there is some really tense scenes in this movie, I think, I might’ve bailed on the doc myself just to save my sanity. Speaking of tense there’s a really good one, perhaps, the best—SPOILER COMING—at the very end when Sarah and Mia are confronting possessed Deb and this little girl she kidnapped from the hospital in this cave and Deb tries to swallow the kid’s head whole. I’ll just let that sink in as I close up this review and give my official Siskel & Ebert thumbs up for this flick.
Back on November 4th Millennium Entertainment released The Taking Of Deborah Logan on DVD only.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen—English 2.0 Stereo, English 5.1 Surround—English SDH and Spanish subs
The transfer and audio were very good.
The only extra you get is a “Making Of” Featurette (3:36), which for it’s brief running time gives you the basics. All I can say about that. A commentary would have been better.
Seek this one out, people, so far it stands unequalled to any other “found footage demon possession” movie.