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Are You There? (2012)

I am ZoZo, Are You There Horror Movie Review

I Am ZoZo is a psychological thriller about five young people who play with a Ouija board on Halloween and attract the attention of a malevolent demon. 


I am ZoZo, Are You There Horror Movie ReviewAlong with a high number of other horror films from Ouija boards to zombies to possessions, on paper Are You There? / I Am ZoZo is the McGeneric of horror movie fast food. Bunch of friends, Ouija board, blah blah. Now don't get me wrong - for a good deal of horror the story line can be as bland as they come - particularly in the synopsis department - and still be absolutely amazing (see: A young family are terrorized by a malevolent spirit until two ghost hunters come to help. Or The Conjuring as most people call it).

Sadly, writer / director Scott Di Lalla doesn't have the experience, or nuance to pull of a great horror film. Or even a particularly good one, for that matter. Di Lalla's experience behind the camera is in documentary film making, and it shows. The direction is capable at best, but has zero flair. The writing is matter-of-fact, and not interesting. There is no building tension. No creeping dread. There doesn't even seem to be the intent there to make it scary. There aren't even any jump scares, which at one point I was hoping for, just to make sure I was still awake. Which is actually a shame. The filming is done on Kodak Super 8mm negative film stock, giving the film a real sense of the 80's, which I think was intentional, but it's so hard to tell. (And as an a addendum, the film is clearly an attempt at 'found footage' yet no one ever speaks to the camera user or acknowledges their existence, which is just plain weird.)

The talent in front of the camera doesn't fair much better, with most of the cast having been in nothing before or since, with the exceptions of Demetrius Sager who has gone on to TV movie Bigfoot, and little more than a cameo from Sophia Mitri Schloss who seems to be trying to make a name for herself, recently coming off of Lane 1974.

The final nail goes to the story, in which it's well after the hour mark of the 85 minute run time before anything happens, most of it happening in the final moments of the film, where we don't see a death until the last scene - and even then, it's ambiguous as to the events.

Yet, weirdly, I won't give it the death knell one star. It is watchable if you know nothing about it, being excited as a viewer waiting for something to happen. Which it has to. Because it's a film. But it doesn't. And now I'm sad again.

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