Horror films being a cause of violence is a poor cop-out by the powers at be when trying to place the blame on something or someone after a tragedy has occurred; Marilyn Manson and horror movies didn’t cause the Columbine massacre, for example. It was social stigma and mental illness. However, being that the killer in Found is an avid horror nut, I suspect the authorities would deduct the blame towards the films he watched – especially considering how one in particular gave him some ideas to incorporate into his murderous methods. The theme of violence is one of many in Found that contributes towards an unsettling experience; this is a coming-of-age story that deals with alienation, loneliness, bullying, racism, homophobia, domestic abuse and tragedy. Certainly not for the faint hearted, but it’s sure to leave an impression on even the most hardcore horror fanatic.
Found is about a boy going through his formative years as a social outcast. He finds solace in horror movies and they’re a shared interest between him and his older brother. However, his older brother also happens to be a serial killer who keeps severed heads in a bowling bag in his cupboard. What makes it so interesting is that little brother Marty (Gavin Brown) has always known about his sibling’s (Ethan Philbeck) affliction; most other coming-of-age horrors deal with the protagonist discovering a dark secret, but in Found it’s a case of already knowing and finding a way to live with it.
The most distressing aspect of Found is not the violence – which there is plenty unflinching amounts of – but what makes it so horrific is watching a child whose underwent a lifetime of victimisation already falling apart. We witness him lose his only friend, get harassed by his peers and neglected by his parents; when he finally works up the courage to stand up to his bullies it’s still Marty who gets punished. It’s an unforgiving experience about a child in a tragic situation spiralling downwards to the point of no return; but as harrowing as it sounds it does manage to raise awareness about the themes I mentioned earlier.
Be warned: if you decide to watch this movie you will not come out of it feeling uplifted. It is cinema at its bleakest and most disturbing; but it’s also a very powerful melodrama that goes that is not hampered by its minor flaws.
From a fun perspective, Found is brimming with love for other horror films and any die-hard fan is surely going to get a kick out of spotting the posters and VHS tapes. Despite his brother being a sadistic killer, the relationship Marty has with him is enjoyable for the most part; especially when they’re having conversations about Clive Barker films.
Found will stay with you long after it’s finished, and even though the sanctity of your mental well being will plead with you not to, you’ll want to watch it again. It’s went on to win numerous awards since it’s release, but its biggest badge of honour must be getting banned in Australia – a country that’s usually been supportive of extreme cinema. Found is an impressive movie and I strongly recommend it. 8/10
Todd Rigney (novel) & Scott Schirmer (screenwriter)
Gavin Brown, Ethan Philbeck, Phyllis Munro
Horror, Drama, Thriller