Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Frankenstein Theory


Frankenstein's monster is one of horror's most popular poster boys but has rarely made any serious excursions from his original story. Other than in cartoons and parodies it has been a lot more difficult for the iconically flat headed bulk of a creature to expand in the same way as vampires or werewolves.
The Frankenstein Theory is a mockumentary found-footage film which tells the story of Johnathan Venkenhein (Kris Lemche), a scientist who claims to have proof that Mary Shelly's novel was actually a real life account of his ancestors' scientific endeavors. His research, which has made him an outcast in the scientific community, points him towards the icy tundras of Canada where he plans on heading to discover the legendary monster and thereby clear his name.

I'm sorry, I couldn't leave
this guy out
With a smart mouthed, irreverent film crew in tow (whom he has paid to document their journey) they meet up with a no-nonsense, tough as hell wilderness survival guide - Karl (Timothy V. Murphy). He loads them up snowmobiles with supplies and stories of bloodthirsty bears before they all make their way into the snow to find the stitched up jigsaw puzzle of a man which is Frankenstein's Monster.

This is without doubt the best shot found-footage movie I have seen to date. Helped massively by the fact it is a mockumentary, and therefore not trying to hide the fact it is shot by a competent and skilled crew. There were a number of moments that felt more like watching a conventionally shot movie, especially when the camera is very steady and the snow covered surroundings glow and transform in shot. If anything, this does nothing but prove how redundant the found footage concept can be. When the best footage in the film is the footage that doesn't look 'found' then what's the point? 

Fucking Bear Grylls
The acting is nothing to get excited about with Timothy V. Murphy the most enjoyable presence as a bad ass survival expert who would quite happily rip off one of Bear Grylls' legs in order to fend off a polar bear with the blooded stump. The camera crew can be quite annoying, but that is the point. They are cocky and loud mouthed and ripe for being brought down a peg or two by the icey wilderness.

There is little negative to say about this film, but with a concept as ridiculous as an expedition to find the still living Frankenstein's Monster (a concept I think is full of potential) it's biggest crime is that it is just so boring. It is generic and dull in spite of all it's positive elements and I found my concentration constantly drifting off. I would tune back in to realise I hadn't been paying attention to large chunks but all the while never missing out on any important narrative. 
What do you mean short attention
sp... I want ice cream

The end is predictable and even includes the so horrifically over used found-footage technique of having the camera dropped on the floor so it lies at just the right angle to capture a horrific event. Also a small bug bear is the constant referring to the monster as 'Frankenstein'. It's a silly and geeky point, but nearly everyone has heard the old adage that Frankenstein was the doctor and the monster was, at a push, called Adam. It just feels weird that they never acknowledge this point, unless they did in one of the numerous moments where I seemed to be focusing on the space between my eyes and the screen whilst my brain was weighing up the merits of eating the last chocolate cookie I knew was left in the kitchen.

The Frankenstein Theory is not bad in any offensive or incompetent way, far from it. It is just so frustratingly dull, despite a central conceit that sounds anything other than that. Frankenstein's Monster could have so easily be replaced with any other legend or cryptozoological icon and it would have made no difference whats so ever. I'm not mad... I'm just disappointed.

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