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Taking of Deborah Logan, The
I've heard the complaint, and in general I agree with it. "There are too many found footage films! They're played out! Stop making them!" Yes! Except, maybe you ought to make an exception and check out The Taking of Deborah Logan.
Jill Larson plays the eponymous Deborah Logan, a very classy old school matron, self-made and proud, who is suffering from the first stages of Alzheimer's. Mia (Michelle Ang) is a student working on a film project who proposes to Deborah's daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsay) that she be allowed to follow Deborah as the disease progresses. In return, she'll arrange for help with medical bills.
Of course, this being a horror film, the progression of Deborah's disease isn't the normal one. She starts displaying erratic and violent behavior, which isn't necessarily typical for Alzheimer's patients, or for anyone. Sarah and the others start to suspect that something more is going on, not least because of the strange noises they hear around the house and Deborah's increasingly bizarre behavior. Eventually, they find that the events may be connected to the disappearance many years before of a sinister French Canadian physician who used Deborah's answering service. Things come to a head in a thrilling sequence in an abandoned mine.
The film is effectively creepy, and the producers really know how to execute the necessary horror movie mechanics to create and maintain a sense of dread. In that way, they are very accomplished craftsmen. But The Taking of Deborah Logan is much more than just a scary film. They're dealing with a disease that many people have direct experience with, having seen loved ones suffering from it. They ran a risk of making it seem ridiculous. They avoid this adroitly, and the main reason for this, and for the success of the film generally, is the absolutely committed and passionate performance of Jill Larson. There was never a moment when she was campy or over broad or dismissive. Larson is totally believable at all times.
Her supporting cast is pretty good too. Anne Ramsay is effortless as the longsuffering daughter, reaching out to the film crew as a last resort and willing to put up with whatever if it will help her mother. The others are excellent as well. The effects are good too, and generally subtle. There is one moment, however, in the mine sequence at the end, that was well done and disturbing enough to cause me to actually cry out. You'll know the one I mean when you see it. The entire film is approached this way, subtle yet effective, and creating exactly the effect intended.
Granted, The Taking of Deborah Logan is a found footage film. And that sub-genre has become a little worn out from repetition. But don't let that dissuade you from seeing this excellent film. It's exceptionally well-acted, compelling, frightening and fun. Highly Recommended.
The video is 16:9 widescreen and looks good, when considering the fact that this is a found footage film, and intended to look as if it was filmed with hand held cameras, etc. There is some occasional aliasing, but nothing else that detracts from the visual experience.
Audio is available in Dolby digital 2 channel and 5.1 channel. No real issues to speak of. Dialogue is always easily audible, and no hiss or other problem can be discerned. Spanish and English subtitles are included.
The only extra, aside from some trailers, is a very short making of featurette, which is interesting regardless of its short length.
The Taking of Deborah Logan is an excellent example of what the found footage genre is capable of in the right hands. It's tense, original, disturbing and a very fun watch. And Jill Larson's performance is epic. Go see it.