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AUDITION (aka AUDITION: FOUND FOOTAGE FILM, 2021)

Directed by Eric Huff, Joshua Paul.
Written by Eric Huff.
Starring Alexandra Dreyfus, Eric Huff
Find out more about this film here!

David (played by unseen cameraman and co-director/writer Eric Huff) is making a reality show in feature length form and convinces aspiring actresses to audition for a lead role, promising to make them a star. To get to know his actresses, he follows them around on their regular day to day activities. But what these actresses don’t know is that David is a murderer, luring each victim in to his trap. The footage that makes up this movie was found in an abandoned warehouse filled with mannequins.

Not to be mistaken for Takashi Miike’s AUDITION, AUDITION also known as AUDITION: FOUND FOOTAGE FILM is, you guessed it, a found footage film. The entire movie is done hand held with David holding the camera focusing on these young actresses at various stages of the audition process. What the film does well is really make the whole story feel immediate. We know from the beginning that David is going to kill these girls, but still, given the likability of them, I found myself holding out hope that one of them, specifically Alexandra Dreyfus who plays Lacey Lee, which the film spends most of its time following, will somehow avoid the fate of the other girls. That’s the compelling factor that kept me watching.

Dreyfus is a natural beauty and despite the shaky cam, she eats up the lens every time it focuses on her. She’s likable, she’s got sass and personality, and she’s easy on the eyes. Even David himself seems to be falling for her, despite the fact that he is planning on killing her eventually. The film does a good job of keeping it’s ending questionable all the way through even though it tells you how the story ends in the opening scrawl. Will David let Laci Lee go? Will she fight him off and escape? Will David kill her like it seems like he’s killed the rest of the girls? That’s the question that made me stay until the end. One can hope the true irony here is that Dreyfus really becomes a star as she definitely shows the potential to be one here.

But it’s a long time until this one is over. There are snippets of the other girl’s auditions peppered through. Some of them before David has shown his psychotic hand. Other clips show how much of a stalker David is with his prey. Others pull the curtain back and show just how inhuman David is and the horror he inflicts on them once he lets them know there really is no movie. Still, most of the film is focused on Lacey Lee and I kind of wish there would have been more time spent on the other girls to counter the rather innocent getting-to-know-you parts of Lacey Lee’s audition. Once we get to the climax where Lacey Lee faces the real David, it is extremely well done. The use of mannequins and the creepy locked warehouse is something out of your worst nightmares. I have to give it to this film for really saving the big scares for the final moments. It shows a lot of patience on the filmmakers’ part, but I feel that some viewers might be itching for more of an even distribution of scares throughout AUDITION.

One thing that almost killed AUDITION for me was the use of a soundtrack and score. To me, a found footage film is best when it feels like no hands have touched the tape. This means, no score to build tension. Nothing tells me that the found footage film lacks confidence in itself more than the appearance of a musical score to hold the hand of the audience and let them know exactly when to be scared. It’s a cheat and an insult to the intelligence to the audience. I just can’t get behind it, even if David might have edited this footage together himself and cut sound to it. Adding a score just takes away from what could have been a raw and relentless film. Instead, the fact that so much post-production was performed on AUDITION with multiple edits, inserted clips of odd, random things, and of course, the invasive score–a truly harrowing found footage film was diminished into an ok one.

Check out the trailer here!!