New Horror Releases: Camera Obscura (2017) Reviewed

On the same weekend that It Comes At Night is seeking to carve a notch in the bedpost of horror elitism, another project tries its hand at evil incarnate. 

Using a unique plot that features an ex-photographer that's battling his way back from the emotional turmoil of war, this project turns one man's PTSD into a subjective new piece of dark cinema. Unfortunately, this release is hampered by an underdeveloped idea that needed more time in the confines of a dark room where a writer would turn out an interesting script. Loaded with good ideas that are never realized, obscure is the best definition for this movie. 

Chiller Films once again tries their hand at indie horror with this latest release, Camera Obscura. Director Aaron Koontz attempts to invigorate the haunted artifact sub genre with a project that uses its limited resources to meager effect. Centered on the story of a camera that has evil intentions, this Koontz feature stems from a core study of personal conflict and turns it into a moody bit of celluloid vengeance that is almost too silent for the subject matter. Instead of going for the gusto, Camera Obscura mixes strange visuals with lead actors that are too far restrained for the subject matter. While the idea is great, the script seems to fail a cast that is obviously straining to project themselves into boring characters. As crazy things continue to happen around them, no one ever seems emotional or fearful of the plot devices that seek to do them harm. This film would be best described as uber boring and sadly contrived. 

Everybody shut up! I'm doing my best Orson Welles right now. 

With a bigger budget and more a more succinct story, Camera Obscura could have been insanely good. It's not the idea that ruins it. It's the absolutely terrible pacing that takes way too long to get moving. Don't get me wrong. A slow burn is always a nice surprise. But this movie is actually hampered by the fact that Koontz doesn't know when to push buttons and when to get things moving. The narrative is stifled as the dots of a supposed mystery are barely connected. Considering the film is still stagnant at the thirty minute mark, perhaps the best thing about his film is the soundtrack that's rooted in some very cool arpeggiated tracks and eerie tones reminiscent of many modern scores. 

With almost nothing to connect to, Koontz's work here is just a mangled series of scenes that seem to go nowhere. Like an aimless college art film project with students taking the lead, I honestly cannot suggest this movie to anyone. From beginning to end, it feels like they were trying to score some type of award for the worst horror film of 2017. Yet again, the only thing noteworthy here is the awesome soundtrack. With a few scenes of gore and violence, some horror fans may latch onto this one but it's gonna be a hard sell even for them.

Share the film and die.