Review: Despite novel perspective, the found-footage horror of ‘The Gracefield Incident’ delivers nothing new
Low-budget horror filmmakers have seemingly found every possible way to construct a “found footage” movie, but with “The Gracefield Incident,” writer-director Mathieu Ratthe tries something unusual: portraying a character who has a prosthetic eye with a tiny camera inside. Ratthe stars as a tech wiz named Matthew Donovan, who takes a vacation in the wilderness with his wife, Jessica, and friends, intending to record the fun with his iris-cam.
Inevitably, trouble ensues. A meteorite lands near the party’s luxe mountain cabin, and when Matt and his friends investigate, strange things begin happening: the landscape turns treacherous, the tourists’ behavior becomes more erratic, and some of them suddenly disappear, leaving a pile of clothes behind.
“The Gracefield Incident” suggests multiple paranormal explanations for what’s happening, from shadowy government operations to Bigfoot, before its big third-act reveal. To his credit, Ratthe keeps reinforcing the emotional underpinnings, which involve Matt and Jess trying to recover from a car accident that cost them their unborn child.
But while Ratthe comes up with novel ways to shoot first-person perspectives, he never justifies the gimmick. “The Gracefield Incident” sports some impressive special effects in key scenes, but remains yet another found-footage thriller where the dialogue feels phony, the nonscary action is tedious and the images are artless. The angle may be different, but we’ve seen this before.
‘The Gracefield Incident’
Rating: PG-13, for sci-fi action/terror, accident images, language and some suggestive material
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills
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