Found Footage Releases: Scooter (2019) - Reviewed

Low budget filmmakers love the "Found Footage" format because it provides the perfect excuse for their film lacking the cinematic look and feel that big budget films can offer.  Even the camerawork itself can get away without having excessively stylistic movement and composition due to the nature of the format.  Horror is probably used for this more than any other genre, as I myself have written about before.  Scooter, written and directed by Matthew Wohl is the latest low budget horror film to follow this trend.  The film follows three best friends, Paul, Will, and Juan, who conveniently make a living as famous YouTubers, engaging in a series of misadventures, which they document on their channel to millions of loyal subscribers.  

For their latest challenge, Paul, Will and Juan must travel from their home in Miami all the way to New Orleans via low powered scooters (hence the title).  The film makes it clear from the get go that their latest YouTube endeavor ended in tragedy, naturally making us curious when and how things go wrong.  It's clear early on that the three of them are prone to getting into heated arguments with each other, which likely adds to the appeal of their videos.  I know this is supposed to add drama to the film, but for me, some of the reasoning behind their clashing legitimately did not make sense.  I felt like the script was trying too hard to add tension to the film early on just for the sake of it.  It's not a good sign of things to come.  

When the film does eventually reach it's main conflict, it does so through a series of awkward encounters that leave me scratching my head rather than quivering in terror.  The weak plot points are troubling enough before you even have a chance to wrap your head around the wooden dialogue and amateur acting chops from virtually everyone involved.  I can tell that the three leads were generally trying, (even though they still weren't convincing enough), but once you encounter the main villain, and the locals supporting him, the film sinks to an even lower level of bad.  

It's the final act of the film where Scooter becomes a straight up farce, and any hope I had for its redemption has sadly evaporated.  The film was at its most entertaining before we even got to the horror part of it, and even saying, "entertaining" is a stretch in and of itself.  There were even moments throughout the film where it appeared to divorce itself from the "Found Footage" format, although an argument could be made that the characters had set up extra cameras beforehand in some of those situations, so I suppose that's a moot argument.  Regardless, I wish I didn't even have to question that aspect of the filmmaking.  At its core, the initial idea of Scooter had potential; unfortunately nothing afterwards followed through.

-Derek Miranda