Amber Alert – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

amberAmber Alert – 2/5 – This is a recommendation review from a friend who asked me to watch and review this film.  This film is categorized as a ‘found footage’ film.  There isn’t much else to explain about this film, other than what it is.  It provides a semi real take on the ‘What if’ if you saw something out of the ordinary, and would you follow through on it?  The premise stands out great, but for most of the movie, you wish there was more to give.

Premise:  An Amber Alert has been issued.  Upon learning about this, a group of friends decides to follow a car they’ve seen that matches the description.  What ensues is a situation that spirals out of control, and will they be able to save the girl in time.

With found footage films, acting is one that is hard to grade.  The purpose of these kinds of films is to show realism of ‘everyday things’ surrounding a written premise, regardless of its base in reality.  When it comes to this film, the acting is revolved around the three friends, who are the focus of majority of the film.  With the focus on them, you see great value in their friendship and teamwork, but also the typical and common bickering between friends.  IN the beginning, you are given a quick montage of what their lives consist of and what kind of things they do.  A lot of the tension begins when they see the car involved in the Amber Alert.  The bickering begins here with the thought of to ‘follow or not follow’ the car.  Eventually, they do, and their portrayal of ‘civilians acting for the better good’ kicks in.  This cliché is very monotonous, but is valuable to making this movie work.  Since majority of the film involves them in the car following behind the other car, there really isn’t much they need to do to bring in acting.  You watch them speak to each other, and how to figure out if there is really an issue or not.  You are just an audience on this ride, dealing with the whining and screaming of the girl passenger towards her guy friend, who’s driving and just becomes a heel to her boot.  I really didn’t see this as a major hindrance, but at the same time, there is decent subtlety to facing a moral compass. The basic question they give is, if we were in this situation, what would you do?  The person behind the camera is the girl’s brother, and is pretty much, just the camera man.  When it comes to the person behind the reason of the Amber Alert, he is only given screen time through audio, and one encounter with the group.  You really don’t get the gist of his villainy, but you know there is something odd about him.  All his issues are played in the last 10 minutes, when you witness the gruesome world within his house.

The direction of this film is very straight forward.  It follows a group of friends, trying to save a girl, based on the Amber Alert they saw driving.  Along the way, you also get a glimpse of the effectiveness of an Amber Alert system.  In this film, it is portrayed as not a very successful system, that doesn’t really do its job.  Mainly, when the cops don’t respond or they are oblivious at what will happen to the innocence girl.  This was somewhat cringing, but I do not know if this is all real, so I took it with a grain of salt.  Because of this, the group takes things in their own hands.  The morality of the situation is what seems to be the main plot point, but being ‘found footage’ by nature of the direction, the interaction in the car is what takes most the focus, so it derails any morality issues that could have been gifted depth to the ideas of ‘abduction’ and the ‘Amber Alert System’.  The film flips its generic tone in the second half, turning into a more suspense/horror thriller when the group finds the house.  It is very eerie and mind cringing at what you begin to unravel, but it helps emphasize more of the psychotic personality of the people who perform these heinous acts.  Not giving any spoilers away, the ending helps add tension to the film and provide a redeeming quality in wasting 90 minutes watching the film.

Overall, this film was another in the line of found footage film.  Amber Alert has a great premise, which falls flat because of stationary elements, but picks up and ends with a great tense and dramatic climax.  The acting isn’t something to scream ‘fail’ over, but it does become annoying at times, especially the girl in the car.  If you’re a fan of horror/thrillers or looking to pass the time, I’d recommend this as a rental on a lazy day.

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