Written by: Tera Kirk
Directed by: Scott Schirmer
Cast: Gavin Brown, Ethan Philbeck, Phyllis Munro, Louie Lawless, Alex Kogin
Based on the novel by Todd Rigney, Found is like an extremely disturbing after-school-special…but that description doesn’t do the movie justice. It’s also a love-letter to the fictional monsters who help us cope with the real ones in our lives.
Twelve-year-old Marty (Gavin Brown) loves horror movies and comic books; he and a friend are writing their own graphic novel, which Marty’s mom thinks is way too violent. Marty’s also being bullied at school and his older brother Steve keeps human heads in a bowling ball bag.
Then things get really nasty.
Found is a slow film, building emotion with character interactions and creepy imagery. (At one point, the movie lingers on Marty and his friend David’s visit to a haunted house with fake monsters.) I liked seeing the movies at the video store Marty goes to–Uncle Sam and Body Melt! If you’re expecting non-stop action, you’ll be disappointed–though, Found takes disgusting turns I’m really glad I didn’t have to explain to my mother.
In the film, monsters aren’t as simple as they first appear. Marty’s parents may not be killing people, but are monstrous all the same. His dad is an abuser and blatant racist, and although his mom says she cares about Marty and keeps him home from school after a fight with a bully, she won’t protect him from the dangers under her own roof. And Steve (Ethan Philbeck) may be a serial killer, but he’s is still Marty’s big brother. Like the movie monsters who keep Marty safe from the chaos all around him, Steve does try to protect Marty from their abusive father and teach him to fight back against the people who hurt him. The interactions between Steve and Marty are some of my favorite parts of the film, honestly.
Found is more sad than scary–its horror is that of an empty room with walls closing in. What happens when those you should trust with your life don’t notice you? When not even the monsters can save you? It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I really hope to see more of Scott Schirmer’s work in the future.
About the author: Tera Kirk has loved horror movies since before her mom allowed her to watch most of them. (One of her fondest childhood memories is being terrified of the trailer for Stuart Gordon’s Dolls.) She has written for Monsters At Play, and reviews video games for GameCritics.com. Her more-or-less personal website is Sweet Perdition.