It Came From Netflix: The Taking of Deborah Logan
Ever since the release of Paranormal Activity horror has given birth to a new genre known as found footage. We've seen many films take up this genre in it's wake and some have been hits but more frequently they have been duds. The same cannot be said about The Taking of Deborah Logan. Much like Paranormal Activity, it takes the less is more approach while also letting tension build slowly. Yet this film also hits a lot of the same notes as Paranormal Activity, it changes things up enough to be able to stand on it's own feet while adding another good horror film to a library of films that have been lacking. Horror films have been struggling lately considering studios see them as easy money makers due to the fact they are cheap to make and rake in loads of cash. Complacency has hit the genre hard, but at least this film bucks that trend.
The plot follows a film crew wanting to do a documentary on Deborah Logan (Jill Larson) who is suffering from Alzheimer's. Deborah is at first reluctant to do so as it is invading on her privacy but after her daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsey) convinces her that they need the money in order to keep the house, she agrees. As filming begins, Deborah begins to exhibit increasingly strange behavior that largely freaks out some of the crew while Sarah is dismissive of her mother's odd behavior believing it just to be a part of her condition getting worse. The documentary crew begins to suspect that something more sinister then just Alzheimer's is the reason, as they begin to look further into Deborah's condition they realize that their fears may be justified after all.
I had limited expectations for this film but the fact of the matter is that first time director, Adam Robitel did a terrific job and building tension from the beginning of the film to the end with a satisfying climax. It also worked in it's favor that they kept it grounded to one singular family being affected allowing the viewer to really care for them but still believe that it could happen to any family. That is the tell tailed ingredient to a successful horror film, the ability to keep the audience under the allusion that these horrible events could happen to you. That allusion is kept largely due to the fact that Deborah Logan is also suffering from Alzheimer's which has the ability to take a way a persons dignity and humanity. Much like in this case, something much more sinister so the two go hand in hand in a compelling and heartbreaking way as we see the main character deteriorate and her daughter watches unable to help her ailing mother.
The acting is solid for a horror film and Jill Larson, who plays Deborah Logan, especially is terrifying in the movie while also being very kind and easily likable. Her daughter, played by Anne Ramsey, is arguably the most likable character as we can relate to her throughout the film. Ramsey portrays her character with plenty of heart and a surprising amount of humor in certain instances. The production crew for the most part adds levity to the film as they either want to leave or add to the story by being a good foil to Sarah Logan. Mostly however, the production crew you could argue is us the viewer as their emotions are frequently the same as our own. Adam Robitel does an admirable job in his directorial debut and certainly shows an eye for crafting an engaging horror film. He also demonstrates the ability to stay with a shot longer than usual in order to get the most amount of tension possible. All in all it is an enjoyable horror film however it does have it's faults as the plot gets a bit strange later in the film. While the climax is rather good, it detracts from what makes the film stand out and loses itself slightly with some shaky camera cuts and questionable effects. With all that in mind, Taking of Deborah Logan is better than most horror films released today and worth a watch.