“2021 is the year of found footage,” so says the actors and producers that make up the comedic, low budget Untitled Horror Movie, directed by Nick Simon that was filmed on iPhones during the pandemic.
Following on the coattails of popular, innovative and low budget found footage Zoom-style horror films that have cropped up amidst the pandemic — like Rob Savage’s Host — Untitled Horror Movie seeks to satirize the lives of those in the film industry while trying to stay creative in the midst of job loss and social distancing.
Six actors (Luke Baines, Claire Holt, Darren Barnet, Katherine McNamara, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Timothy Granaderos) who work on the same television show find out their show is probably getting cancelled. To pass the time, they decide to work on one of their horror scripts, a movie that would be recorded on their iPhones, from the relative safety of their homes.
As they work on the film, it becomes clear that the demon they were pretending to summon may have actually been summoned. Instead of stopping, they decide to start capitalizing on it as film studios start showing interest.
The premise brings up an interesting comparison with real life job loss amidst the pandemic, with people being more concerned with their future careers than the people getting hurt around them. This is one of the aspects that makes the film more comedic and a satire of found footage films, as the actors are scared one second then celebrating a film deal the next, almost like they’re egging on the spirit for the exposure.
This, unfortunately, is also its downfall. A lot of this film involves the actors joking and creating banter with each other outside of their film within the film, and often the humor just did not work and came off super artificial.
This would have been tiresome in a more conventional film, but the fact that it was taking place on Zoom and entirely consisting of dialogue scenes made it overly obvious.
The entire film came off too manufactured for a quasi-found footage film. In particular, the film uses constant background music, which almost always seems out of place in a found footage/screen recorded film.
While the main story can be entertaining sometimes, the film that this band of friends is making is rarely enjoyable. The story both relies heavily on weak, well worn tropes while also making little to no sense. Even though the film is fake, I was surprised that even in the fictional universe studios were clamoring for this footage.
Worst, it’s never even slightly scary. With that said, it should be noted that the actors did their own practical effects and makeup as they were filming in their own houses. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make a compelling spooky atmosphere.
Those looking for a scare probably won’t find it here. Found footage fans equally probably will not enjoy the overproduced nature of this film.
This film flourishes in the fun that the actors are having. It definitely comes off as a fun project for the actors involved. The comedy is there to be found, and maybe it might work for someone different. It also does a good job of satirizing the film industry and different types of actors.
Untitled Horror Movie will be available for a special livestream premiere event on June 12. It will be available to rent on Amazon and iTunes June 15. Find out more information on their website at https://untitledhorror.com/ and check out the trailer below.