THRILLER, 1hr 24min
STARRING: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan
Camera-ready: from left, DeHaan, Jordan and Russell
No one needs to spend much time with Andrew Detmer (DeHaan) to get the picture of his oppressed existence. His mother is dying, his father beats him and he’s picked on in high school, a misery not helped by the handheld camera with which he films it all.
But Andrew is about to have his moment when he, his cousin Matt (Russell) and Matt’s friend Steve (Jordan) check out a crater that contains a jellied, telekinesis-inducing mass. At first, the newly empowered boys crack wise with practical jokes. But as their abilities grow stronger and the thrills multiply, so does their buzz lust. Hey, they’re kids. The last thing they’re concerned with is the terrible potential of unnatural strength — until it catches up with them.
Staying grounded in found-footage reality with naturalistic dialogue and a homespun, haphazard atmosphere was a smart move from director Josh Trank: as Andrew’s stunts grow darker and crazier, they never lose their fearsome cred. Even the culminating, grotesquely surreal sequence has the clumsy immediacy of as-it-happens catastrophe.