VIDEO 2 GO: “388 Arletta Avenue”

388-arletta-avenue-poster

UTG is continuing to expand our film coverage with the debut of VIDEO 2 GO, a recurring review column dedicated to features released outside of movie theaters. Whether it’s VOD, online only, or direct-to-dvd, this feature is dedicated to the films destined for the small screen.

If you have a film, or even if you simply know of one we need to cover, let us know! send an email to info@underthegunreview.net with the heading “V2G” and tell us about it!

This week’s pick: 388 Arletta Avenue

Found footage takes center stage yet again with this week’s Video 2 Go, but sadly this one has absolutely nothing to do with dinosaurs.

Hitting VOD last week by way of The Netherlands, Randall Cole’s 388 Arletta Avenue is a tale of obsession capture entirely through the use of hand-held and security cameras being controlled by an unknown assailant. I was not expecting too much going in, but felt the concept was unique enough (albeit ridiculous) to warrant 90-ish minutes of my time.

There is no introduction to the film, a camera turns on, heavy breathing is heard (likely from the excited nerves of our stalker), and we see our first glance of 388 Arletta Avenue. It’s a small house on the corner of a suburban street occupied by a couple in what I’m guessing is their early 30s. They seem happy, definitely unsuspecting, and from what anyone can gather a “typical” couple. After a few external shots of the house at night, our cameraman captures what becomes his entry way into the home and plants nearly a dozen tiny cameras. This allows for us to watch every moment of the couple’s life, often from multiple angles, and while that is more than a bit hard to believe, it makes for an interesting storyline. That said, if you’re the type who cannot follow something so outlandish, I should go further and note the man also plants cameras at the husband’s office. How this happens is not explained, ever, but enables storytelling opportunities not often, if ever attempted in found footage.

Like most films of this variety, it is nearly impossible to dive deeply into the plot without giving away major turning points. Just know that the setup is not as much the focus of the film as much as it is a tool to help the audience  be “in on” the cruel joke that is the victim’s experience. It’s not about the kill, it’s about the hunt, and as far as plot development and character arcs go, 388 Arletta Avenue is one of the most ambitious in recent memory. It has faults, mainly in the dead spaces that are somewhat required for our antagonist to reach the point of insanity, but a strong performance from Nick Stahl makes it enjoyable throughout.

Some VOD films are released as such because their target market is too small to warrant a theatrical release, while others fall more into the category of “not good enough for a major theatrical push, but good enough to capitalize on because digital distribution is cheap.” 388 Arletta Avenue falls well into the latter of these, but should still be considered required viewing for any found footage junkie.

Written by: James Shotwell (Twitter)

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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