Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Frankenstein Theory

Director - Andrew Weiner (BlackBox TV)
Starring - Kris Lemche (eXistenZ, Goosebumps), Joe Egender (The Hamiltons, Holy Ghost People), and Timothy V. Murphy (Sons of Anarchy, Shallow Ground)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     Frankenstein, or the Mordern Day Prometheus is the amazing story written by Mary Shelley in 1818 and published anonymously and then again in 1923 under her name.  The story went on to leave an incredible footprint on cinema and horror alike with the first adaption taking place in 1910 by the Edison Studio (Thomas Edison's production company) by director J. Searle Dawley. That story has went on to inspire countless adaptions, parodies, and homages with Universal leading the pack with their 1931 classic staring Boris Karloff as the film's monster.  Hammer horror then took the stories and made a complete series out of it.  The late 70s and early 80s saw the rise of several Frankenstein parodies that continue to this day.  Sometime last year I was at Wal-Mart and a film caught my eye.  That film was The Frankenstein Theory.  This was a found footage take on the Frankenstein mythos.  It looked fun so I grabbed it and threw it on my DVD shelf to forget about until now.  Funny how often I do that.
      The film follows a college professor who has family ties to the original Frankenstein experiments that was assumed to be fiction until he shows documents to prove otherwise. He hires a documentary film crew to go with him to the frozen tundra of Canada to investigate sitings of the monster.  They hire a guide and the crew ventures out into the frozen unknown to see if they could find traces of something living on the ice.  They find a yurt and stay in it for the night and awaken in the morning to find their snow mobiles totaled.  The guide follows the footprints in the snow and never returns. They search for him and find his body.  They rush back to the yurt and get one of the snow mobiles running.  They send one of the crew members (not two?) for help but when he fails to arrive the next day they set out to find him.  The crew member carrying the camera does find his body and is then attacked by something massive.  The remaining crew members panic and rush from the tundra to the forest where they discover Frankenstein's monster is still alive and he has been killing everyone that enters the tundra for over 200 years.
     The story of Frankenstein and his monster has seen so many adaptations so it was only a matter of time before it found it's way to the found footage sub-genre especially where that particular sub-genre is so popular right now with the Paranormal Activity franchise. I don't really care for the found footage films but some are really worth watching.  It just depends on how authentic the filmmakers want to be.  The more authentic the found footage film is the more I tend to dislike it because every filmmaker thinks that the viewer wants to pay money to watch an amateur cameraman sit and shake the whole time.  This is incorrect and immediately turns me off from a movie.  However, this film did not take that route and gave us some great cinematography.  This was a well crafted found footage flick.  The acting in this one is not the best I have seen and that is a bit surprising considering the budget this film actually had.  Kris Lemche and Timothy V. Murphy were great in their roles but the remainder of the cast just lacked something either heart or conviction.  The story for this one is fun but it just wasn't what I was expecting.  I was expecting a found footage film where we had blurred images of the creature before a big reveal where he either knocked our socks off or made the viewer feel like he wasted his/her time watching the film.  The film lacked that build up of the creature.  We watch the whole film with only noises of the creature at night before we get the reveal and that was lackluster.  The story also has a lot of flaws to it.  Like how did Frankenstein's monster end up on the frozen tundra of Canada?  I think this would have been a more effective film if it was a found footage flick about werewolves or even a Yeti.  Finally, the film skips on the on screen kills and special effects.  Instead, the film relies heavily on the story development and character interactions which is one of the few things that made this film enjoyable.  Overall, The Frankenstein Theory is a decent film that could have been something more if they would have left the Frankenstein mythos out and used another horror creature.  It still deserves a watch so check it out!


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