Evidence opens with a large crime scene somewhere in a desert in Nevada during July 2013. Striking music plays over the scene as we are taken on a tour of various emergency services personnel who have been freeze-framed whilst doing various tasks. The camera pauses at last on a bag with the word ‘Evidence’ printed on it. An intriguing opener to an intriguing film or so we, the viewer, hope…
A task force of detectives and forensic staff are brought together to try and figure out what has happened and to hopefully work out who murdered a group of passengers on a bus, which evidently ended up overturned in the middle of nowhere near to the final scene of carnage. There are two survivors who may hold the key to the sickening events, as might a number of camera Sim cards also found at the scene. The forensics team start to play back the footage and, bit-by-bit, piece together what happened.
It soon becomes apparent that some of the victims knew each other and were travelling to LA to make a better life for themselves. It’s predominantly this group of people, who recorded the footage on their cameras, as they were documenting their trip since one of the girls, an actress/model, had just landed her first role in a film.
The less I say about the film the better since I don’t want to give too much away; the element of surprise is the main asset this film has going for it. Suffice to say the less you know about it the better. Essentially a mix of the ‘slasher’ and found footage subgenres, Evidence uses its atmospheric location well and mostly succeeds in keeping the viewer in the dark until the final reveal.
As I’ve said before I’m not a huge fan of found-footage films, however they can work reasonably well in the right hands. Evidence is certainly not the best of this type of film, but it’s definitely far from being the worst. Sadly, it does come across as being a bit disjointed at times, which can be mildly irritating. Plus a few of the characters do some incredibly dumb things, which of course gets them killed, but I guess that is in the nature of the ‘slasher’ genre!
There are enough red herrings and nasty burnings to hold the interest and Evidence certainly had this reviewer trying to work out ‘whodunnit’, but sadly the film isn’t quite the sum of its parts. The final dénouement was a bit contrived and didn’t really wash with me, although it was a fairly fun idea; it just wasn’t handled very well. I did, however, think a couple of the death scenes were nicely handled and were genuinely disturbing, but sad to say none of the main characters were particularly sympathetic so one didn’t really care about what happened to most of them, with the exception, perhaps, of an oriental teenager who’d run away from home. Sadly he’s not really in it enough, although his camera provides a key clue to clearing up the mystery.
Evidence is probably at its strongest when it’s examining the nature of our multi-media age and asking how far a person would go for their 15 minutes of fame. It’s certainly worth a look and I look forward to seeing what director Osunsanmi and writer Swetnam come up with next.
Evidence has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by Signature Entertainment. There were no special features on the disc.
Reviewer: Justin Richards