Mockingbird is a film that has sort of slid under the radar. We haven’t really covered it here at Wicked Horror and probably would have missed it all together if I hadn’t gotten an e-mail from a BlumHouse publicist offering a screener for review. It’s unfortunate that we haven’t given this title more play on the site because it is really quite excellent. Aside from a few shortcomings, I was very pleased with the film as a whole.
The film finds four different people (two individuals and one couple) discovering a video camera delivered to their door with instructions to begin filming themselves and not to stop for any reason. Each recipient assumes that the camera delivery coincides with a sweepstakes entry or some other benign event and has no clue as to the level of hell to which they are about to be subjected.
There are people that are bound to dislike the film simply because it uses the ‘found footage’ method of storytelling but if you can get past that, there’s a lot to like her. Mockingbird is extremely suspenseful. It’s directed by Bryan Bertino – who directed The Strangers – he brings the same brand of Hitchcockian suspense to Mockingbird that he did to The Strangers.
The film is set to breakneck pace. It begins building suspense from the first frame and doesn’t ever let up until the end credits are rolling. There is never a dull moment and since the entire feature is only 81 minutes long, it is a brief but exciting voyeuristic look into the lives of four individuals. It’s like a home invasion film where the perpetrator only invades the home by way of looking in from the outside.
The performances are surprisingly good for not only a ‘found footage’ film but a lower budget ‘found footage’ film. Particularly impressive to me were Audrey Marie Anderson (The Walking Dead) and Todd Stashwick (Teen Wolf). They both turned in effortless performances and were able to deliver believable performances in spite of a storytelling method that isn’t always easy to justify or believe.
My primary complaint with Mockingbird is the ending. The film just comes to a close and that’s that. We learn nothing about the backstory of the people that delivered the cameras to the homes of the four people or what greater purpose – if any – it serves. Getting a bit more detail would have made the film that much better. I appreciate an open ended film because it lets the viewer draw his or her own conclusions but I needed a little more information from which to draw in this case. I would like to see a second installment that provides a bit more insight into the organization behind the events that transpire in the first film.
Mockingbird is now available on VOD and will be exclusively available on DVD and Blu-ray exclusively at Walmart beginning October 21st. I would absolutely suggest checking this one out at your earliest convenience. It is one of the most thrilling and suspenseful horror films I’ve seen in some time. If you enjoyed The Strangers, there is a high probability you will dig Mockingbird.
WICKED RATING: 7.5/10 [usr 7.5]
Director(s): Bryan Bertino
Writer(s): Bryan Bertino
Stars: Todd Stashwick, Audrey Marie Anderson
Release: DVD and Blu-ray October 21, 2014 (Walmart Only)
Studio/ Production Co: Blumhouse Tilt
Length: 81 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Home Invasion