Here we go again with another ‘found footage’ film supposedly shot by amateurs: this time it’s schoolkids in Seattle with superpowers. There has been wild cheerleading in the blogosphere in advance of this self-confident debut from writer Max Landis (son of John) and director Josh Trank. They’re both 26 and clearly believe they’ve got a game-changer on their hands: they mash up mock-doc stylings with a coming-of-age comedy and a comic-book superhero origins tale.
Behind the camera is a bullied loner, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), who is summoned by his cousin to film a crater in a field. Inside is a whopping shard of crystal that gives all three superpowers. There are some goofy-funny prank scenes as they test out their skills – terrorising a little girl in a toyshop with a floating teddy. But something is up with Andrew, who is pulling legs off spiders (with his mind!), and might be crossing to the dark side.
Does ‘Chronicle’ take found-footage movies to a new level? Don’t believe it. By the end, the trio are flying around like the Harry Potter kids after a night on the sherry. Which makes the idea that we’re watching events from the point of view of one camera laughable (even if they can levitate it). It’s a weak link in a strong calling card for the talents of Trank and Landis. Can we call time on found footage? If anyone out there stumbles on a camcorder with video of what looks like the scoop of a lifetime… wipe the memory and take it to Cash Converters.