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average rating is 4 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Jan 13, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Henry Richardson
Written by:
Henry Richardson and Malachi Hall
Malachi Hall, Craig Wakefield, Henry Richardson

What began with Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and then reached what many consider to be its pinnacle with The Blair Witch Project (1999), the found footage film fraternity has been revived and has seen something of an explosion in the past couple of decades. Films such as Paranormal Activity (2007), [REC] (2007), V/H/S(2012), Creep (2014) as well as many, many more were keen to cash in on the budget busting returns that could be made from the shaky handcam sub-genre, with minimal production, unknown actors and almost non-existent location costs helping to keep the expense down.


Situating itself firmly within the indie film community, found footage films are an obvious go-to for young film-makers on a low budget, as it is a pretty easy formula to follow which almost always delivers what it promises and is guaranteed to find an audience amongst those who like to scare themselves witless. Now, into the fray comes Lurking, the first full feature from burgeoning production house Unhinged Pictures, which wants to take us on a journey to hunt down the dreaded Goatman, a local legend within the Gosmore community.


Beginning with an intro vlog post from Ralph Wingard (Richardson), who details his buying of a couple of cameras from a car boot sale and subsequently finding the footage on the SD cards contained within, we are then invited to watch his edited version of events as wannabe demon hunters Kurt Duplass (Hall) and John Miller (Wakefield) head out into the local woods to see if they can entice said Goatman out into the open.


Kurt is our eager and somewhat overbearing guide/presenter/lead who explains the background of the legend to the camera whilst also flexing his ego, meaning that he is sometimes hard to take; and John is his ever suffering cameraman, brought along for the ride and for his cutting scepticism towards the whole affair. The two play off each other really well and while the build up might be considered by some to be kinda slow, the interaction between them is light and funny and goes a long way to keeping the feel of realism alive.


Once the Ouija board comes out, the boys eventually reach the forest, and the sun goes down, things start to become increasingly creepier as we get a tour of the Goatman's favourite haunts and the unexplainable begins to happen. The woods are definitely not empty and the sounds flying around are horrifying, but just where is the Goatman? Is he playing with his food before he strikes, filling the meat with cortisol and adrenaline to make it tastier? Or is he not there at all and it's just one big hoax?


While Lurking may very well be a rerun of The Blair Witch Project just with a different antagonist, it does what it does really well and managed to scare the bejesus out of me with its effective sound design and a long slow burn that ramps up to crescendo levels towards the end. The acting from the two leads is natural and believable throughout and the concept of a found footage film within a found footage film is a nice touch. (A found found footage footage film as one viewer called it)


While some die hard community members may feel like they don't get enough on-screen scare time, the film-makers here are firmly of the belief that the unseen is far scarier than what can be shown, and with that have created a genuine horror sensation, albeit one that's not entirely original.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film
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