Review: “Caught” is Flippin’ Weird, Man!
“A journalist couple invites two strangers into their idyllic village home after noticing strange military activity nearby, but what begins as an informal interview soon descends into a nightmarish fight for survival.”
And what a nightmarish fight it is. “Caught” captures the audience and straps them in for a full ride of suspense, terror and lots of questions. After an initial view of the film, it has already landed as one of my favorites of 2018… and we’re only in March! As a fan of everything horror, this film fires on all cylinders to stay true to the genre’s troupes but also to be unique. Many creative choices set this horror flick apart from the likes of “Strangers: Prey at Night” and “Winchester.” So before you watch, prepare yourself for an enthralling experience, unlike many horror films you’ve seen before.
CINEMATICS (CINEMATOGRAPHY, ACTING, PLOT, ETC.) – 4.5
Bravo to Cian Barry and April Pearson for their work here. Never have I been more weirded out by a pair of antagonists. These two terrorize from their first seconds on the screen to the final (ambiguous) moments of the film. Their unyielding statures and broken English inflict a tumult of uncertainty into the audience and two protagonists, a husband and wife duo who only want to protect their children from these bizarre perpetrators. And like any great suspense story, as more and more questions arise for the protagonists, the audience is right there with them. Wondering what’s going to happen next every step of the way, teetering on the edge of the seat will be the default position for every audience member.
It’s wonderful to see, in this day-and-age with the cinemas plagued with run-of-the-mill horror snoozefests (with the exception of “Get Out”), a simple concept executed so perfectly. Jamie Patterson, as director, pieced together a superb mystery, and only needed one location to do it. Its superiority excels because of the clean cinematography and lingering moments of absolute terror. Theses moments seamlessly blend together with an unnerving anxiety building and building until the situation escalates beyond the protagonists’ control.
Nothing more can be said about the technical elements of this film. Masters of their craft created a beautiful piece of horror, complete with an ambiguous ending that surprisingly does not ruin the experience. It leaves the temptation to watch the movie again… and maybe another time after that.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE – 4
Couldn’t have been more entertained during the 85 minutes of brooding inquiries. Yet, those inquiries dialed down the experience, even if it was slight. Many of the questions in the film remain unanswered, leaving the audience with an unclear resolution. Having the questions remain unanswered does contribute to the terror blanketing this movie, but a few more answers (or hints) would’ve been nice.
It’s a creative choice that definitely does work, in its own ambiguous way, but did not completely settle with me. Speculation and personal interpretation are excellent when done right. Stephen King’s “The Mist” is a notable example. But in “Caught” there’s almost too much speculation and interpretation needed in order to bring the story to “your own” end.
Maybe a few more viewings will help me answer some of the questions, which is a commendable characteristic since rewatchability is a big factor in movies. But for now, the questions are going to continue to swim around, keeping me up at night.
And for some reason, I’m not totally angry with that.
REWATCHABILITY – 3.5
With that open ending, you bet I’ll be watching this one a few more times. I generally only re-watch movies because I like them as comfort, not to further/completely understand them. In this case, with how well made it is, re-watching won’t be a demanding task. It’ll be fun and informative.
- Entertainment Value
Terrifying and unique, “Caught” leaves the audience in the company of two beyond-strange antagonists who bring a mound of unnerving questions along with them. It’s a unique experience like few you’ve seen before, and it’ll keep you guessing, even after the film ends. With an ambiguous ending, several excellent re-watches are expected. But when the ending is combined with the other unanswered questions left behind, feeling unreciprocated may not be exactly what you’re looking for after a movie. Regardless, this movie and its brilliance are sure to land on several “favorites” lists for 2018.
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