And I Fell In Love Instantly: I was browsing the DVD section at Walmart the other day when I noticed this film. I picked it up and noticed two things – 1) It was created by Blumhouse. 2) It was also a collaboration with the people who made The Strangers. The Strangers is my favorite horror film. Naturally, I was interested, but I waited for it to be released on Netflix. I eagerly turned on the movie and got settled.
Background: Okay, so the basic premise of the movie is that there are several different people who experience the same thing. They receive a video camera in a big red box tied up with a white bow on their doorstep. Naturally, they are excited about the expensive gift and begin recording. Here’s the catch: if you stop recording, you die. Or at least that’s what they are eventually told through a video tape that mysteriously appears at their doorstep. The victims are tormented, the phone lines are cut, blah blah blah. Eventually, the mystery has to be solved and the victims are given instructions on where to go and what to do next.
Characters: One character, instead of being tormented, is given makeup and a clown suit. He then has to perform tasks (almost like a scavenger hunt) in order to supposedly win a monetary prize. He does so happily. His situation at home is that he owes his mother money and so must live with her. From her interactions with him, it becomes clear that she is a horrible mother. The actor really portrays the son realistically, so kudos to him.
The family is cute, but really not that special. The woman seemed nice, but all I knew was that she lived in the guest house on someone’s else’s property. I didn’t get to know them like I did the clown guy. That was my issue with the film – the characters’ stories were touched upon, but not really elaborated. The only character I felt strongly for was the clown. The others were basically strangers to me, so I didn’t have a strong connection to them. That was a major weak point of the film for me.
Favorite Scene: The balloon scene near the end. It was a very unique visual, and I really enjoyed the red tint it threw on everything in the setting.
The Ending: This was the reason I was disappointed with Mockingbird. The ending was horrible; it didn’t work and it felt extremely sloppy, like it was thrown together at the last minute, like Lost. It didn’t make any sense. It was not explained. There were no questions answered. It almost felt like a practice exercise for Sinister, except without the well-crafted storytelling. There was all this build-up, and then… nothing. It’s fine to leave some questions unanswered, but this isn’t The Strangers; we needed an explanation. Anyone can craft some messed up scenario and throw an ending on it like this one. It was as if the director was saying, “OHHH! LOOK AT THIS TWIST! OOH SO SCARY! BE IMPRESSED!” As if the impact of the twist alone would be a good end to a movie. Wrong. Excuse me, but yes, it does need to make sense – in this case, at least. I was so excited to figure out what was going on and that’s what kept me so interested in this movie. The ending was a complete letdown.
The Good: Character development of the clown guy, great build-up, kept my interest, the balloon scene
The Bad: Not enough character development for a character-centric film, horrible/sloppy/too easy ending, too many unanswered questions
Rating: 2 out of 5 – The film had great potential, but the ending destroyed it.