Thursday, September 11, 2014



Label: Jinga Films LTD
Region Code: ALL
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 98 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 
Director: Giorgio Amato
Cast: Stefano Fregni, Francesca Cuttica, Guglielmo Favilla, Gaia Inseng

 While THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT didn't inspire a wave of found footage cash-ins the success of PARANORMAL certainly did and in the aftermath the we had waves after wave of both studio and indie found footage films flood the marketplace, a wave on par with the no-budget zombie dreck that's clogged up Netflix and Red Box for years. Of course there are occasional moments of cleverness and inspired creativity (LAKE MUNGO)  but for every PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and [REC] there are a dozen more along the lines of THE DEVIL INSIDE and PARANORMAL ENTITY. The result if that the term "found-footage" does not fill me with enthusiasm and hasn't for quite some

Now onto the latest found-footage entry CLOSED CIRCUIT EXTREME (2012) coming from the boot-shaped shores of Italy, a country known for borrowing a few good ideas in the name of exploitation cinema going back to the granddaddy of all found-footage, the gut churning classic CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Here we have a young couple whom suspect a a man in the disappearance of their dear friend.  When the authorities don't follow-up on it to their satisfaction the two decide to investigate on their own. They monitor the suspects daily activities and break into his home and install several closed circuit video cameras throughout the home in strategic locations - the living room, the bathroom, bedroom and a view of the front yard and the basement. The closed circuit devices only have a certain amount of storage capacity so every few days the couple must return and pull the footage, which as you can imagine is risky business. They suspect this guy may have murdered a friend and they were lucky to get inside once and install the cameras but visiting the home repeatedly is beyond nutty. 

At first the cameras don't catch much out the ordinary - this guy leads a sad and solitary life. He comes home from work, slips on a pair of slippers and drinks a beer while sculpting his bonsai tree. He's interviewing women for a low-paying child care position which seems a bit suspect for several reasons and very slowly things start to become a bit more interesting. Eventually we observe a few more seriously events but not before I nodded off at least twice - this movie is moving in slow-motion and I was growing tired of watching this guy walk around in his undies - not that it got much better when he started walking around in the nude, nope, not at all..

I didn't think the set-up was awful but the execution is certainly faulty, so very slow and  not that much interesting happens for the better part of an hour. The couple are only glimpsed briefly - not enough to get to know them but we at least understand what they are up to and why. What bothered me was how comfortable they were inside the home pouring through drawers and personal belonging, moving furniture and frequently returning to the home time and time again. If I was in the home of someone I suspected  to be a murderer I would be trembling but these two are way to comfortable. You just know they're going to slip up and sure enough that's exactly what happens 

The minimal cast is decent but the broken English dialogue was quite a slog to get through and sounded so unnatural which was a little annoying. Without spoiling too much the film does go to some dark places which includes rape, murder and dismemberment with a fair amount of nudity which is captured on closed circuit cameras so the fine detail leaves a lot of gore and nudity to the viewer's imagination, which doesn't detract from the film at all. 

There's a brief text introduction explaining how the footage came into the possession of the authorities and is edited to include character pop-ups for each person giving their name, age and other information plus additional text pointing out fingerprint and blood evidence as if the film were edited by the authorities to be used as evidence. It's an odd sort of exposition which took me right out the film every time it popped-up. 

CLOSED CIRCUIT EXTREME moves along at a snail-crawl pace and execution is stiff. When the more interesting stuff comes around I was too far gone to care about it even a little bit, there's zero suspense to be found in even one frame of this overlong found-footage flop. SKIP IT!