Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Movie Review: Chronicle


There's nothing really original in this movie — the plot, in fact, is pretty much a reinvention of Stephen King's Carrie — but I liked it quite a lot. Mainly because it demonstrates just what "superheroes" would actually look like to an unsuspecting public: really damn scary.

The premise is that three teenagers find a hole in the woods, go down into it ('cause they're teenage boys and thus stupid), and discover some sort of alien crystal thingy, contact with which gives them telekinetic powers. This is never explained, nor does the crystal thingy show up again, so it makes about as much sense as most superhero origin stories.

Andrew, Steve, and Matt

The three boys find their telekinetic abilities rapidly growing. Initially they are just levitating legos and baseballs, but soon they're able to move cars, generate force fields, and eventually, fly at supersonic speed. Their hijinks begin innocently enough, but obviously, power like that is bound to end up misused.

Andrew Detmer is the "Carrie" of the piece. His mother is dying, his father is an abusive alcoholic, and at school he's an outcast nerd. Steve "token black guy" Montgomery is handsome and popular. The last member of the trio, Matt, is Andrew's cousin. He's the one who begins pressuring the other boys to be careful and follow "rules" about using their powers.

Unfortunately, Andrew's home life makes the outcome fairly inevitable. When things go south, what had until now been a fairly low-key supernatural thriller turns into a superpowered slugfest that wrecks downtown Seattle. This is not a world where "superpowers" have been known to exist before, so the reaction of the media, the crowds, and the police is realistic: i.e. What The Holy Everlovin' Fuck?

This is a "found footage" film of the sort that's been popular lately: most of it is presented through the device of Andrew carrying a camera around to "chronicle" his life, for no obvious reason other than perhaps the realization that his mother isn't going to be around much longer. The filming is for the most part not as annoyingly jerky as many such films (e.g., Cloverfield). And for such a low-budget thriller, the special effects are pretty impressive and believable, even when the three teens go from pushing cars to pushing buildings.

The story, much like King's Carrie, has both a horrific, bloody climax and a tone of Greek tragedy. Andrew goes from a despised, friendless outcast in the beginning to briefly enjoying a taste of popularity and coolness — just before everything turns to shit. He's as sympathetic as Carrie when he snaps. The other boys are less tragic than Andrew, but more likable. Steve might have been cast as the bully, but he's not: although he's popular and clearly one of the "cool kids," he never picked on Andrew and is nice enough to him even before they get their powers. Matt is basically a decent guy, for a teenager; he's not unwilling to use his telekinetic powers for pranks, but he tries to bring the other two to heel when they get out of control. Unfortunately, he does not foresee just how out of control Andrew is going to become.

Andrew, 'Apex Predator'

For horror fans and superhero movie fans alike, this is definitely worth Netflixing.

Tags: movies, netflix, reviews, superheroes

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