The most frustrating thing about found footage films to me, is how there really isn’t a reason to be filming most of the time. When the crap hits the fan, so to speak, why wouldn’t anyone just throw their camera and run like hell? It’s a cliche’ that seems to beating the proverbial horse these days, and though it has definite potential at times, unfortunately Andrew Weiner’s THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY falls deeply into that cliche’ as well.
THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY follows a documentary crew who is hired by John Vankenheim (Kris Lemche, GINGER SNAPS, FINAL DESTINATION 3), a professor who is suspended from his university for his insane theory that Mary Shelly’s classic novel FRANKENSTEIN was actually a work of non-fiction, based on what his great great-father did: create life in a monster. John and the skeptical film crew, led by Vankenheim’s friend Vicky (Heather Stephens, THE MESSENGERS 2, David Lynch’s LOST HIGHWAY) decide to document a trek to the Arctic Circle, where Vankenheim believes the real monster to be, and like most other found footage films, they find exactly what they’re looking for.
Though it has a pretty interesting premise, I feel like the film is full of missed opportunities that cause it to not be more than every other entry into the sub-genre. It’s shot much better than most found footage fare, and the locations are gorgeous, but unfortunately it never really rises above the same ol’ formula we’ve been subjected to throughout the last few years in an overdone approach to filmmaking. The characters are likable as hell, there’s no doubt about that (the sound guy is hilarious), but the climax of the film is pretty much as predictable as they come, and my biggest complaint is that the movie suffers from whatever alternate reality that almost ever single found footage seems to live in, where it would be fine to edit and release tragic footage . We’re supposed to believe, like every other movie that employs the found footage angle, that someone found these cameras, added music and photos to it then released it to the public? At least with last year’s V/H/S made sense, with each story being watched on tapes. Hell, even Romero’s flawed DIARY OF THE DEAD attempted to explain the addition to music with a character telling us why they added it. THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY, in my opinion, would be a hell of a lot stronger of a film, if it wasn’t a movie about a people filming a movie, and it was instead just a regular narrative film.
With all of that being said though, it looks absolutely beautiful, and the acting is above normal found footage fare, so hopefull Weiner’s next film is one I can latch onto. The guy has potential, but unfortunately, THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY just doesn’t live up to that.
THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY roars into VOD/Limited theaters March 1st, followed closely by DVD on March 26th via IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT.