I’ve been a fan of found-footage horror movies since I first saw The Last Broadcast in 1998. Most of these movies ask the viewer to suspend their disbelief and proceed as if what they were watching was a real documentary, which can be very effective. It’s kind of like passing on local legends and ghosts stories with friends around a campfire; it’s folklore, and these movies often do center around such a legend or mystery. What I really dig about these flicks is that they’re usually very low-budget and require a great deal of creativity on the part of the film-makers. I’ll take ingenuity over big studio budgets every time.
UNLISTED OWNER is a film directed by Jed Brian, written by Jed Brian and Tyler Landers, and released by Lawford County Productions. The movie opens on footage of a family moving into their new house, only to cut to later that night, when they are all murdered (mostly off-screen). The main story of the film follows a group of friends who gather outside the house the next day after hearing the news of the murders. According to local legend, imparted to the group by their friend Tanner, that very house was the site of another grisly murder fifteen years prior: a father set his entire family on fire in the basement and it is rumored that they never found his body. Everything that happens is caught on camera by Jed, with some footage shot by his friend Griffin, as they all go on a camping trip that night and decide to go have a look inside the infamous house.
This is a fairly straightforward slasher flick and you know from the onset that all of these kids are going to wind up dead. The footage is framed as being put together by the police in an effort to figure out what happened, as well as a brief interrogation scene with Tanner, in which we learn he was the last person to see his friends alive. There are some cool homages to Blair Witch throughout the movie, as well; I always like to see film-makers give subtle nods to their predecessors.
What’s pretty cool here is that you can tell this a bunch of friends getting together to make a movie and have fun. According to the credits, most of them pulled double or triple duty, acting as well as being part of the crew. The special effects are good (except for a corpse close-up early in the flick that looked like poorly done CGI); it’s mostly blood as many of the murders happen off-screen, but they pour plenty of it on. The killer is revealed, but never long enough to get a really good look at him, which I think was a good choice; I like the idea of a faceless attacker and it is much creepier to see him edge into the frame with only his lower body and blood-dripping scythe visible.
My biggest issue with the flick is that it takes too long to get to the action. The last 30 minutes are where everything really starts picking up speed and kicks into high gear (and I really started to enjoy it). They spend a great deal of time in the middle of the movie focused on the group of friends, especially the loud and obnoxious dude-bros Gavin and Tyler, and I understand why they did it, so the audience feels invested in what happens to these kids, but there’s just too long a period with no scares and no gore.
I love indie horror and have to respect anybody that’s able to pull off making their own movie; writing, producing, directing, effects, funding, there’s so much that goes into it. I give UNLISTED OWNER a score of 6.1/10. It’s not perfect, certainly, and the score would be much higher if more of the movie was like the last half hour, but if you like found footage flicks, or slashers, I would recommend giving this a watch.
UNLISTED OWNER is available for purchase on YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV, and Amazon Prime Video.