Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Snuff: Diary Of A Serial Killer (2016)
Rowena Winnie Reign
When Ned's three children go and stay with their mother. Ned decides to borrow his son's camera so he can document the paranormal events that are taking place in his home. As he begins to record the circumstances, the entity begins to slowly drive Ned insane, and it ends up transforming him into a cold-blooded serial killer who begins to start murdering victims in his home. Slowly the bodies start to pile up.
Heading into a movie with a title like Snuff: Diary Of A Serial Killer. I was hoping for a possible mixture of Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer meets 8MM. Based on the poster, though, I went into this expecting something of a much lower budget. While the last part was correct, the rest was utterly wrong. This film is nothing like those other two movies that I mentioned above and when it comes to quality. I feel goddamn awful for even referencing the two movies in relation to this one.
We'll start with the positive aspect of Snuff, which there is only one. What this movie does get right is that it tries to add something a little different to that entire Found Footage 'Paranormal' craze. The sub-genre is overrun with these types of films and has become somewhat tired and sort of predictable regarding formula. Where Snuff tries to add something a little different is that it turns the main character into a villain and we watch his reign of terror.
While the movie follows the same similar 'Paranormal Activity' formula of the house becoming haunted, the date format which shows the increased hostility of our entity and the movie giving us the typical slamming doors and quick cuts. I did enjoy the fact that this is primarily us, the audience, having to sit there for an hour and a half and watch this guy go insane and murder a bunch of people. I liked the switch up, but this is the only thing that I found positive with Snuff: Diary Of A Serial Killer.
John Reign who is the writer, director and leading star of Snuff tries his darn hardest to give it his all with this performance. He tries to show human nature at it's darkest and his character does end up doing some pretty messed up things. I, however, found him manically laughing at the camera every few seconds and him conversing with no one but himself to become annoying, very quickly. Instead of coming across as crazy, he becomes grating, and all creepiness is immediately lost.
This is pretty much a family affair. The acting is amateurish, but this is expected when he's cast his entire family as his family in the film. So to put your own kids in a movie where you brutally kill their mother and your wife who is starring as a prostitute and your nephew who also shares a writer and director credit will be fun explaining to his two young daughters when they are old enough to watch this home movie. I sense therapy will be a big part of their lives when they grow up.
Snuff: Diary Of A Serial Killer does have a few nasty moments to be found in the film. While a lot of the death scenes in the movie have been done better in other films, the grainy, almost home-movie quality of the film may shock some of the more sensitive viewers. Some audience members may even believe the "real" 911 recording at the start. It also might make some viewers feel uncomfortable watching the real serial killer quotes at the beginning of the film.
I didn't find Snuff: Diary Of A Serial Killer scary. The movie does try for a few jump scares at the beginning with slamming doors, quick cuts, and loud noises with the entity we never get to actually see. It's all been done before and better in all of the Paranormal Activity films, so nothing really landed for me when it came to shocks or scares. I did notice a little homage to Poltergeist thrown in the movie with the table and chairs, though which was a neat little moment.
Lastly, I think even if Snuff: Diary Of A Serial Killer had a well-known cast and a much bigger budget, this would be a film that still divides audiences. Like the brilliant Man Bites Dog had us following around a serial killer with its faux-documentary style, it was always laced with dark humour. We questioned where we stood as an audience with onscreen violence. Snuff is a cold, as a snuff film should be, yet this offered no social element. This was just an hour and a half of killing without any intelligence.
DEATH TOLL: 4
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Draino is poured down someone's throat.
- A dead body is shown with dissolved throat and face.
- Smacked in the head with a hammer.
- Throat sliced open with a box cutter.
- A prostitute snorts bleach.
- Someone's nose begins gushing blood.
- A woman's hand is smashed with a hammer.
- An arm hacked off with a hacksaw.
- Someone is suffocated with plastic.
- Someone's head is bashed in with a hammer.
- Face smashed in with a hammer.
- Someone is shot in the chest.
Snuff: Diary Of A Serial Killer is a movie that while adding a neat little spin on the Paranormal Activity, Found Footage films, seems to fall short in every other aspect. While the movie may shock some more sensitive viewers, Snuff is still amateurish in quality, the acting is over the top, the central performance from John Reign is grating, and it's just not scary. This should've been kept in the 'Reign' home movie vault. Only watch it if you want to be subjected to such unpleasantness.