M.L. Miller here! As I go into my tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Seven of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2016 and going through September 30, 2017. I have posted Best of lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t! Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on July 9, 2017! Available On Demand, digital download, & DVD here! Also streaming on Tubi and Amazon Prime!

CAPTURE KILL RELEASE (2016)

Directed by Nick McAnulty, Brian Allan Stewart
Written by Nick McAnulty
Starring Jennifer Fraser, Farhang Ghajar, Jon Gates, Rich Piatkowski, Christina Schimmel
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here

Some of the best horror films are much more than just horror films and CAPTURE KILL RELEASE definitely falls into that category. This is a film that is not only chilling and gory, but it is also a wonderful look at a dysfunctional relationship between two extremely flawed characters. Being a found footage film, CAPTURE KILL RELEASE is going to be a film many scoff at given the inundation of films made in this format we’ve seen recently, but recently I’ve come to accept found footage not as a fad, but a legitimate subgenre of horror, mainly because, at least for me, this sort of film can still grab me and great films such as this one can still be made—making the subgenre feel fresh as it was when BLAIR WITCH PROJECT first came out.

I have a certain criteria for found footage films that take the form of the below questionnaire that I will apply to CAPTURE KILL RELEASE, but this is a film, I believe fans of the subgenre and those who aren’t will both want to seek out.

What’s the premise?
A married couple, Jen and Farhang (Jennifer Fraser & Farhang Ghajar) have decided to plan a murder. The film goes through their process from planning stages, to prep work, to the stalking, to the actual execution. But as they get closer and closer to making the actual kill, one of them becomes reluctant to do it.

Are the actors believably acting like they aren’t acting?
The acting in this film is it’s strongest asset, besides the unpredictability of the story. Jennifer Fraser plays Jen as a deeply unhinged person who has attached herself to a pushover in Farhang (Farhang Ghajar). While the words coming from her mouth are utterly bone-chilling, she is completely seducing and manipulative in the way she leads Farhang around in order to appease the bloodlust inside of her. Jenn is downright giddy in some scenes preparing for this kill and her charisma is intoxicating. One understands why someone like Farhang might fall for her and do whatever she wants to make her happy. On the other side of the spectrum is Farhang, who is equally strong and believable here. The fact that these two actors are able to be so comfortable with one another and as well as have such distinct personalities is what makes this film all the more convincing and engrossing. Without these two particular actors, I don’t think they would have been able to pull off this movie at all.

Does is seem like this footage was actually found and not untouched by additional production (which means there is no omniscient editor making multiple edits or an invisible orchestra providing music)?
Yes, nothing in this film seems to be added. No music. No major edits other than turning on and off the camera. This is a film that tries to make it as believable as possible that this might be a film stumbled upon with the only things happening in the footage occurring within the universe of the story, making it all the more believable.

Is there a valid reason the camera isn’t dropped and they just get the hell out of there?
Most definitely. Jenn is addicted to making this footage to rewatch it later. She is obviously a very sick person and she wants to map out every single detail in front of the camera from a playful gathering of tools at home depot to stalking their intended victim and leading him into their home. Later, the main conflict between Jenn and Fahhang is the fact that Jenn must keep the camera rolling at all times and seems to love this recording more than the relationship itself.

Is the lead in too long and the payoff too short?
Quite the opposite. We hit the ground running with this film and actually have to catch up with Jenn’s manic excitement in plotting and planning this kill. This reason why this film is so good is because it keeps things interesting from beginning to end. A lot of that has to do with the amazing performances by Jenn and Farhang, but they are doing a lot of stuff to fill that time as well. I was entranced with this film from beginning to end wondering how far down the abyss it would go.

Is there an up-nose BLAIR WITCH confessional or a REC-drag away from the camera?
Nope, and I love this film for not succumbing to these tired clichés which need to be retired in the found footage subgenre.

Does anything actually happen?
A whole hell of a lot happens. While many found footagers seem to end abruptly with no real feeling of resolution, CAPTURE KILL RELEASE tells a complete story about a flawed relationship.

Does the film add anything to the subgenre and is this one worth watching?
CAPTURE KILL RELEASE is one of the best found footage films you’re going to find. It embraces the found footage blueprint, but never lets it hinder the story. The film uses the format in new and exciting ways by telling an intimate story of flawed romance, twisted morals, and the horror of love. One warning though; cat lovers might want to take a break at about the halfway point in this film as one kitty meets an untimely end. While I hate animal cruelty and usually don’t want to see it in my movies, this scene does serve a purpose and is the first indication that there are going to be problems with Jenn and Farhang’s plans. Playing out like a found footage version of HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (with the way the killers plot their murders and the rules they live by) with less tongue and cheekiness of MAN BITES DOG and BEHIND THE MASK, CAPTURE KILL RELEASE is one film you don’t want to miss. Fans of found footage are going to love this, as will those who don’t like the format, as it has engaging characters you can’t help but like, despite their obvious flaws.

Click here for the trailer!


THE 2016-2017 COUNTDOWN!


#6 – CAPTURE KILL RELEASE
#7 – THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE
#8 – IT CHAPTER ONE
#9 – THE VOID
#10 – SWEET SWEET LONELY GIRL
#11 – SAVAGELAND
#12 – IT COMES AT NIGHT
#13 – THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER
#14 – THE SIMILARS
#15 – HOWL
#16 – SEOUL STATION
#17 – THE TRANSFIGURATION
#18 – THE GREASY STRANGLER
#19 – I AM THE PRETTY THING IN THE HOUSE
#20 – ANNABELLE 2: CREATION
#21 – SPLIT
#22— TRASH FIRE
#23 – 47 METERS DOWN
#24 – HELL HOUSE LLC
#25 – THE SUBLET
#26 – PATCHWORK
#27 – IT STAINS THE SANDS RED
#28 – GERALD’S GAME
#29 – LAKE BODOM
#30 – NIGHT OF SOMETHING STRANGE
#31 – THE EVIL WITHIN


M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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