The story centers on a handful of self-centered douche bag socialites who pick up the wrong girl for a night of abundant drinking and cocaine consumption. She’s the wrong girl, I note, because her body simply can’t handle the sudden influx of potentially fatal drugs. She overdoses after inhaling enough lines to leave John Belushi rolling over in his grave, and the remaining partygoers – as would be expected – are thrust into a panic riddled scenario. Do they call the police and handle the situation as grown folk might, or do they take it upon themselves to dispose of the body and pretend nothing ever happened? You’ve probably got a fair idea of the conclusion these bratty losers reach.
Cole utilizes gritty camera work to lend a staggering degree of realism to the picture, and he’s more than willing to continuously blur the lines between fact and fiction, so much so that at times viewers are swept away in a whirlpool of genuine confusion. Just how much of this film capitalized on improvisational work is unknown to me, but the boisterous behavior of a handful of children trapped in grown bodies opens a passageway for connectivity. As viewers we don’t side with this ensemble for a single second, however we do grow to immediately loathe these creatures and that’s a result of compelling, despicable personalities and truly resounding performances. We hate these spoiled fuckers, and that leaves their pretty little visages stuck in our minds beyond the final frame. There’s value in impact of that nature.
The Upper Footage is arguably the most convincing film of its kind. There are no daring twists or unforeseen turns in store. Rather, we experience a single night of terror that plays out as a true event rather than pure fabrication. And that in itself earns the pic huge points. In fact, the simplistic, standard crux of the narrative generates a surprisingly poignant response. It’s bleak and abysmal, dark and depressing. It’s a jarring look in the mirror of today’s hideous high end social scene, and the fact that it rings as deeply convincing is stomach turning.
Ultimately that’s exactly what I want out of a film. I want to be severely unnerved. I want to enter a world that could swallow me whole, begin to digest my wriggling frame and then spit me right back out into this gloomy reality. The Upper Footage drags in a few spots, but in the end it feels like a terrifyingly conclusive tale, and it clings to the psyche and opens nightmarish doors that probably haven’t swung on hinges since childhood. If you’re looking for a found footage film that captivates, this is it.