Unless otherwise noted in the post title, these are not
reviews, per se. They are articles for people who have already seen the film or read the book in question--meaning that there will be spoilers. If you're already familiar with the material being covered, or don't mind the plot being spoiled, please read on and leave a comment.

Friday, November 7, 2014

[Movie Review] The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

A crew of documentary filmmakers (Michelle Ang, Brett Gentile and Jeremy DeCarlos) looking to make a thesis film on Alzheimer's contacts the Logan family, hoping to document the effects of the disease on both the sufferer and the family. Daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsay) is all for the project, as the stipend they will receive will go a long way towards paying off the increasing medical bills. Mother Deborah (Jill Larson), though, is hesitant, fearful of being exploited. Exploitation is a fine line, though, and she is eventually convinced that their motives are pure. 

The effects of the disease are horrifying and otherworldly in and of themselves, but they are very much grounded in reality. They are captured on film by our documentarians, but eventually symptoms begin to manifest that can't readily be explained by medical texts. It seems that Mrs. Logan—along with the too-protective neighbor Harris (Ryan Cutrona)—has a secret history, and it is finally catching up to her.

THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN is a possession film, and it is a found footage film—both of which may be a turn off to genre fans that are burned out on one, the other, or the combination of the two. This is, however, a possession film and a found footage film done right, and because of that, it shouldn’t be judged solely by the method used to tell the story.

Despite the modest budget, filmmakers Adam Robitel and Gavin Herffernan manage to whip up some solid special effects and pull commendable performances from a solid cast (indeed, the fact that a few familiar faces can be found, and it still doesn't pull you out of the found footage reality is impressive in and of itself).  The horror begins in the real world, but spirals so effortlessly into the unreal that it’s difficult to tell where one begins and the other one ends.

I was initially concerned that the movie would be somewhat exploitative, but as I said before, exploitation is a fine line. The filmmakers obviously did their homework, and the subject matter was handled with intelligence and sensitivity. This is not exploitation at work, but rather metaphor, exploring what the disease does to those around it: replacing the person that you loved with an alien "other" that you can scarcely even recognize.

It is simultaneously heartbreaking and horrifying, offering up at least one sincerely "Holy Shit" moment that will make you stand at attention for the rest of the running time. If it starts off a little shaky (as many found footage films do), it certainly finds its footing along the way and becomes one of the best fright flicks of 2014, in my humble opinion.

Watch it.

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