Rating: ★★ 1/2
Found footage has definitely made a home within the horror genre, with titles such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity gaining popularity and infamy in recent years. With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that so many horror filmmakers want to jump on the bandwagon as the sub-genre is simple to make and the sense of realism is what makes it really scary for a lot of viewers. When it’s done well, found footage can easily create that sense of uncomfortable voyeurism for its audiences who are on edge but just can’t look away…
Unlisted Owner is a found footage film about a group of friends who break into an unoccupied house after the previous owners were all murdered. Curiosity has gotten the better of them, and they want to find out what’s going on. The film shows us footage from various cameras that captured both before and after the murders, giving us real insight into what happened to the murdered family.
As with quite a few found footage films, I thought Unlisted Owner was longer than it should have been and we had scenes where the cameras seems to linger and not really add anything to the narrative. When this happens it really ruins the film’s pace which can be such a shame. There were a lot of scenes that stood out to me and kept me on the edge of my seat, but then there were others that I couldn’t wait to end. Scenes could have easily been cut down and still made perfect sense, and drastically improved the film’s pacing too. However; I did like the fact it was shown chronologically which made it easier to follow and we didn’t have random excerpts all over the place. In my opinion, found footage is better when it follows a more chronological structure so they definitely made that work here.
The quality of acting in this film is mixed. I was impressed with some but not with others, but ultimately for an independent film it isn’t bad. The people both behind and in front of the camera are meant to be your average, everyday people so I’m less bothered by the way some people feel unnatural on screen. If anything it adds to it, as we’re meant to view the characters as real people and follow their journey through the footage they recorded. I liked the fact the main characters were your typically obnoxious, suburban young adults and the dynamics between those individuals was definitely believable.
Overall, Unlisted Owner is a decent entry into the found footage genre with some good scares, but in my opinion it could have done more to make it stand out amongst other films of its kind. We’ve seen so many found footage films now that it can be incredibly difficult to not get repetitive. Maybe if you’re a bigger found footage fan than me you’ll enjoy this more, so I would certainly recommend this to others in the horror community.
Personally I would really love to see more from Jed Brian and Lawford County Productions as I believe he’s a great storyteller with so much passion, and with practice he’d be able to create even better films in the future. Thank you so much for sending me a screener and letting me see your work, I hope to see more from you soon.
I wish Jed and everyone involved with Unlisted Owner the best of luck with their future filmmaking journeys!