“Chronicle” edged out the top spot at the box office on Super Bowl weekend, just ahead of Harry Potter’s attempt at horror, “The Woman in Black.” But is it just another found-footage film that everyone went to see because they’ve already seen “The Grey,” or does “Chronicle” actually have something to offer?
The main camera in the film is handled by Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan), an angsty high school kid with a lot more baggage to deal with than just being a teenager. He buys a video camera and decides to record just about everything. After all, if he didn’t, it wouldn’t be much of a movie.
Detmer spends most of his time with his cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell), virtually his only friend. Garetty is one of the more popular kids and he decides to invite Detmer to a party because he doesn’t ever get out of the house. Reluctantly, Detmer agreesand Garetty tells him to leave the camera at home. Detmer decides he should bring it with him.
At this party, uber-popular guy Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan) stumbles upon Detmer, who is just sitting by himself in the grass. When Montgomery sees Detmer’s camera, he says to follow him, because he and Garetty just found something really cool in the woods.
He doesn’t want to, but peer pressure gets the best of him, and Detmer follows him to an almost perfectly formed hole in the ground where his cousin is waiting. Of course, they venture down into the hole. What high school kid wouldn’t think this was a good idea?
Whatever that odd looking thing was in the ground, it managed to give the three boys superhuman powers. Over the next few weeks, they spend nearly all of their time together honing their skills. For the first time in his life, Detmer feels like he has friends.
From almost the inception of their powers, Detmer seems to be a little stronger than the other two. The changes seem to come much more naturally to him. But when you give great responsibility to a group of high school kids, they don’t always handle it as gracefully as Spider-Man did.
The three-fold combination of a superhero origin story with a bit of alien sci-fi, topped off with a drama led by Detmer’s father was definitely a smart one. This is the most promising found-footage film I’ve seen yet to date, and it was because of the playful nature of the first half of the movie.
“Chronicle” captures the ups and downs of high school life for a group of superheroes in training. The second half of the film takes a turn toward the less playful, and Detmer’s dark side comes out. It starts to feel like Detmer might be the villain of the group.
The ending disappointed me a little bit, but I was able to come to terms with the premise of the movie. Given the powers they had, this movie could have taken many different turns, but it didn’t. These powers were given to a group of teenage kids, one of which had some deep-seated anger issues. It makes perfect sense to me that it didn’t turn out well.
Overall, “Chronicle” wasn’t something I would call an instant classic, but it was an entertaining movie, and it was well filmed. The CGI was never overbearing which was a surprise, given the abilities these kids had.
I think the best part of “Chronicle” is that it shows that not all found-footage films are total garbage.