As faux documentary, it's believable. The acting is mostly first-rate. These consistently seem like real people.
As a criminal case, not so much. The convicted man's blurry photos of monstrous forms are shrugged off by the sheriff as fakes. But in this day and age, it's easy for experts to identify tampering of that kind and the filmmakers don't even bother addressing that point.
Moreover, the film is slow and repetitive. The editing could have been tighter, while still preserving the atmosphere, and the story needed greater reach. If Salazar didn't do it, who did and why? What lies beyond that ridge in the first shot?
This movie caught me completely by surprise! It is a perfect example of how an exceptionally deep and well-developed idea can be executed even with a smaller budget. The movie is unsettling in a way that jump-scares and screeching soundtrack cannot produce. The writing and acting are good, and this movie manages to deliver a fresh take on some very tired themes. I wish the ending were a bit different (it's what keeps this from being a five-star for me), but it still is a surprisingly excellent film, and I would not miss it if you are a fan of slightly more cerebral, atmospheric, and slower-paced horror movies.
I am very familiar with mockumentaries and mockbusters, especially of the caliber that the Asylum seems to produce. I've also seen way more than my share of found footage movies. However, this was truly a superior use of the documentary style. It is one of the first mockumentaries where I actually got through 1/3 of the film, had to back out and fact check to see if this was a real story. That is great storytelling. The acting was very very good unfortunately. Why unfortunately? Well, their racism, their hatred, their closemindedness, their biases, and their willingness to pin the simplest answer on a defendant who cannot defend himself is present still in today's America This reminded me of the mockumentary drama called The Bay. I suggest you check it out, because it uses the same style. You come up with a somewhat plausible scenario based on people's fears, add the totally insane to it, and yet still have a good story. That being said, I hope I never have to sleep with a gun underneath my pillow.
Bloated buffoon sheriff and all. Presented as a "figure it out yourself.." Were it the story of a real crime spree, I would say the state killed an innocent man and that this was another government experiment that they covered up and found an innocent person to blame.
At first this movie plays out like any court room real life prosecution drama or an episode of forensic files. It paints a vivid picture of a horrible ordeal and a man at the center that's being blamed for it. I wasn't paying as close attention as I should have immediately but I continued to idly watch and listen, and I was not disappointed.
What starts off as a typical court drama with a suspect at the center of it turns into something else, more details come out in the "case" and the details tell a different, unbelievable story. Is he a madman, is it an insanity plea, if it is, what about the evidence that tells his side of the story?
It isn't until the end that things really amp up, you start to think that things are done and that's it, end of case, but there are further details, little added on things. There's the obvious racial and cultural tension that is superbly done and extremely realistic given the times we live in, but there's still that question of evidence.
This is a rare mock-umentary style movie that's actually pretty engaging and interesting.