Saturday, October 03, 2015
An amateur documentarian chooses to live in a cabin in the woods for a year. Here he hopes work on his marriage and film a nature documentary although foolishly he hasn't chosen a subject before making this decision. One day his backpack is stolen by a guy who looks like a homeless Sith Lord. He follows him to a nearby cabin that he didn't know existed. After entering the cabin and retrieving his backpack, he discovers that he is standing in the home of Mr. Jones, a critically acclaimed anonymous artist who specializes in creepy wooden sculptures.
At this point I wondered why Scott would enter the cabin with his video camera on. I'm pretty sure that people who live off the grid generally don't want their homes to be broken into and filmed. So it was here where I started thinking that maybe Scott isn't the brightest guy.
He decides to make Mr. Jones the subject of his documentary and flies to New York to interview art curators. Mr. Jones became a sensation in the art world for sending his creations to random recipients. Scott interviews some of the people who received the sculptures and they all describe unpleasant to disturbing events that they experienced after receiving their gifts. One man very soberly warns Scott not to go further with the documentary because of an evil associated with the figures.
So what does he do? He sneaks into the cabin again, explores the basement and discovers the basement's basement, which leads to an elaborate underground labyrinth. On his way out he steals a doll, because he's Scott and he makes poor decisions.
Three and a half Gretchens may be a little generous but that's just the kind of guy I am today. It's a challenge for a movie to create "famous art" but I thought they successfully pulled it off here. The scarecrows or whatever the hell they are elicited a delightfully unsettling visceral response in me. Another plus is that the actual threat that they face is unclear but scary-as-shit nonetheless. Is Mr. Jones your standard homicidal maniac? A supernatural being? Finding out is half the fun.
On the downside there were some annoying "technical difficulties", the bane of found footage films (you know, suddenly there's a glitch in the tape so you're unable to ascertain what just transpired *shudder*). Now that I think about it, Mr. Jones walked that line of a found footage film and an actual movie so seamlessly that I don't even know how to categorize it.