You can Google it before you watch it to get up to date on the genius marketing campaign that made The Upper Footage infamous for two years before its release via Video On Demand this month, but watching it “cold” is probably the best way to go in.
It’s basically a fictionalized Faces of Death, with a nice bit of social commentary via the ultra-self-absorbed main characters who accidentally help a young girl overdose and then quickly fall into madness as they try desperately to cover it up.
None of the characters are very likable from the beginning, though our cameraman does ultimately try to redeem himself as the audience’s only real voice of reason, after the situation quickly deteriorates. But then we’re not supposed to like these characters, because this is a portrait of a generation that is beyond lost within themselves.
When they decide to record the entire night as way of retracing their steps later and keeping their cover up stories straight, it is in fact exactly how today’s teens think. It is ridiculous, and that’s the point.
When one of the four over-privileged, coked up rich kids picks up “Jackie” in a downtown bar, we know she is in for way more than she bargained for in getting into their limo. Jackie’s face is blurred throughout the entire movie, which actually lends to its overall realism, suggesting quite rightly that nothing like this could ever really be released otherwise.
While some horror fans and gorehounds will complain that there’s not enough action and that what there is comes too late in the film, I appreciated the steady building of tension from the second Jackie gets into the limo right up to the final frame.
The second half of the film definitely stretches the believability more than the first half, but by now, we’ve spent enough time with these cocky jerks to think that maybe they could actually devolve so far so fast.
In the end, the bad guys in The Upper Footage are a new kind of monster, built entirely online and raised on social media with zero empathy and 100 percent confidence in their self-assured knowledge that they are the best, they will win, and all that matters is looking good doing it on camera.
Official Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars