Review Date: November 13, 2011
Released by: Anchor Bay
Release date: October 11, 2011
Widescreen 1.78 | 16x9:Yes
Okay, I’m going to make this short and sweet. I’m not going to posit some film school thesis about how found footage movies are a reaction to the voyeuristic culture of the Internet. That may be true, it may not, but I don’t really care. All I’m going to do is explain why Vlog
is a terrible fucking movie that you should under no circumstances waste your time with. Vlog
isn’t just bad, it’s unwatchable. At all. Seriously, Vlog
is in the running for the worst movie I’ve ever seen… and yes, I know how that sounds. Believe me, I wish I were just exercising Internet hyperbole.
There’s isn’t a story. No, I’m not being flippant. There is literally no story to this 70 minute mess. There’s a premise, yes, but writer director Joshua Butler seemed to think that establishing a premise (and a thin one, at that) was enough writing to hang a feature on. It is not. Since I feel obligated to give you as much of an idea as possible as to what this disaster is about, here’s the premise of Vlog
Brooke Marks (playing herself), a vacuous twit with no redeeming qualities, runs an online vlog where she details the minutiae of her life. This includes embarrassing details of her sexual exploits: picking up guys, dishing on their sex lives and then breaking up with them. This lame horseshit unbelievably takes up the first forty minutes of this barely feature length seventy minute film. That’s right, more than HALF of this movie is a bubble headed blonde staring directly at you talking about uninteresting things that she can’t even bring the slightest bit of insight to bear on. These scenes exist SOLELY for introducing who will be killed in the second half of this train wreck.
So, around minute 45 an unidentified stalker starts harassing Brooke. Eventually, the anonymous psycho works his way up to abducting and murdering her friends and sending Brooke videos of him doing it. The police investigate but are unconvinced that it isn’t all an hoax when they find no trace of foul play or even any sign of her friends at all. After Brooke herself falls victim to the killer and the video of her murder is posted online, new facts come to light that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… I’m not going to waste any more time trying to extract some kind of narrative from this mess.
The oddest thing about Vlog
is how little it seems to know about its own subject matter. There are a lot of online Vlog
gers that are able to entertain. Vlog
’s biggest liability is that Brooke’s musings aren’t terribly interesting. She starts off by complaining about people who don’t entertain and only use their vlog as a forum for venting, yet the first third of the film is her doing exactly that. Yeah, she’s cute and has large breasts, but Karen Alloy is cute, has large breasts and is also a talented writer and an entertaining speaker. I can only imagine how much better the opening scenes of Vlog
would be if it centered on her, or someone like her, instead. Seriously, how can a 70-minute movie be so slow moving and outright boring? Hanging the movie on a dull lead actress is a good place to start.
The filmmakers seem to be trying for a meta, ultra-hip style, but Vlog
is less stylistically daring and more flat-out obnoxious. It’s all just so amateurish in feel, despite some occasionally mildly impressive cinematography thrown into the mix. The slapdash approach of Vlog
makes me wonder if the filmmakers have ever actually watched a good online vlog. Your average You Tuber has a better understanding of how to draw and maintain the attention of their audience through good writing, pacing and clever editing than this film suggests anybody involved with its making is. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some of the craftspeople involved with Vlog
expunged it from their resumes (not saying that’s the case, just that it wouldn’t surprise me if it were).
No matter how sympathetic the main character was, however, Vlog
would still be doomed to the rubbish pile. Vlog
is not just a poor excuse for entertainment; it’s also an exploitative, reprehensible pile of shit. After the extremely dull first half, Vlog
completely switches tack and becomes a brutal and gruesome faux snuff pic. The thing is, the violence isn’t harrowing - it’s just exploitative. Do we need to see a beheading and dismemberment in graphic close up for three minutes straight? There are Al Qaeda torture videos that show more class and restraint than Vlog
. Well, not quite, but the comparison isn’t as far off as you’d expect, or as far off as it should be for a film that purports to be fiction. It doesn’t help that lot of the gorier moments are served up with a side of wink-wink ironic detachment and expects us to laugh it all off as a joke. Even more insulting than the postured hipness of the whole affair is the copy on the back of the package, which has the audacity to pitch this pile of shit as a cautionary tale for the information generation. You know what? No, no, no and go fuck yourself.
The final insult hurled at the audience comes in the form of a “clever” final twist. You see, it was Brooke who was doing the killing from the start. If you have a pulse rate approximately above zero, you likely saw this coming. The only reason you couldn’t have seen it from the start is because NOTHING HAPPENS FOR THE FIRST FORTY MINUTES OF THIS FUCKING MOVIE. Seriously, if all you want is to look at some boobs then just Google “Brooke Marks” and you can stare at her large, ever so carefully concealed breasts all day without having to subject yourself to this pile of garbage that’s insultingly masquerading as a movie.
Trying to take a step back from the film itself, I can say that the presentation of Vlog
is a notch better than I would have expected. It doesn’t mitigate the wretchedness of the feature itself, but even cinematic turds deserve to be polished. I guess.
My standards for found footage films tend to be pretty lax, since it’s one of the few times when a filmmaker has a legitimate artistic excuse for his/her film looking like shit. Vlog
employs two different perspectives and shifts between them. The regular, third person footage is shot in a very contemporary, stylized way: deep contrast, bright greens and yellows and rich reds characterize this footage and act as visual cues as to what perspective you’re watching. The vlog footage looks better than it really should, but does show reduced colour saturation, colour banding and mosquito noise, a lot its flaws stemming from the fact that it is shot largely using natural light. The blacks in the third person footage are completely crushed with no detail in the shadowy areas of the frame.
is utter dismal as a feature, but the sound mix has a few nice, well thought out touches. As the movie switches from the perspective of Brooke’s camera to the omniscient, third person, there’s a change in the sound quality: the third person perspective sounds like a normal mix, while the vlog footage caves in on itself, sounding cramped and confined to the front centre channel, which is exactly what you’d expect of footage capture on a web cam. It is what it is and the technical people responsible for the sound mix did a far better job than the film deserved.
The only supplement is a collection of 11 of Brooke’s vlogs running a total 29 minutes. These clips are just the full, unexpurgated versions of the vlogs featured in the movie. They weren’t interesting in the context of the movie and they’re not any more interesting divorced from that context. At the very least these vlogs, which are essentially extended scenes, aren’t offensive like the final product is. They’re just dull and not any more worth watching than the film itself.
I think almost any movie, no matter how awful, deserves some minimal amount of credit. Even a movie I hated will still garner a D- rating in deference to the fact that while it may be a terrible movie, at the very least it’s not morally reprehensible. Vlog
doesn’t get that free pass. Vlog
postures as an “extreme” film. I agree. It’s an extremely plotless mess that’s extremely boring, extremely unpleasant and an extreme waste of your time. It exists only to cheaply and crassly push buttons and separate you from your hard earned cash.
You know, I didn’t think I would ever give out an F rating. I was wrong. This is a film devoid of artistry or wit, point or purpose. Vlog
now officially has the dubious honor of receiving my first “F” grade. “F” as in “F. THIS. MOVIE.”
Movie - F
Image Quality - B-
Sound - B-
Supplements - D
- Running time - 1 hour and 10 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English 5.1 Dolby Digital
- English SDH subtitles
- Bonus vlogs from Brooke Marks