Every once in a while I get contacted to do a movie review, and every time I do, I get a little excited. It's such an honor to get this privilege, and when I was asked to do a review for Case 347, I jumped at it, and I'm so glad I did. I've reviewed some indie films in the past, and I believe that honesty is needed when dishing out these reviews. Not everybody agrees on what's quality and what's not - but that's what's great about the movie making world. And in all honesty, what I saw with Case 347 was nothing short of fascinating. Starring Maya Stojan and Chris Wax, this indie thriller hits a lot of the right notes; the atmosphere, the acting, the premise, and the scares are all there.
What starts off as a documentary style turns into something so much more after a slow burn filled with information and storytelling. Paced with incredible precision, you never really feel a lull, even as the crew gather information or just conduct interviews. Generally I would say that can be kind of tedious, and then I got to the final act, and that's where the film really takes you out of your comfort zone. Maya Stojan is immaculate in the leading role of Mia Jansen. Her performance is believable and raw. She most certainly nails her character. But what's a leading star without her supporting cast. Chris Wax, and the rest of the characters we come across do their jobs flawlessly, from the emotional instances to the shocking, you really do believe these people are out to find the truth.
The story isn't anything completely original, but that's the thing - it doesn't have to be. You can tell the same story a thousand times in a thousand ways, but as long as it's executed well, you have every right to tell that tale, and that's exactly what Case 347 does. It takes it's cues from The Blair Witch, and Paranormal Activity, but adds its own spin on it. And as recognizable as those styles are, they're not done cheaply nor do they appear to be a blatant ripoff. In the world of found footage/mockumentary style film-making, it's not easy to carve out a piece for yourself. People will always compare you to the aforementioned films - but as long as they put you on the same podium, there is nothing wrong with that, and I do feel that Case 347 does belong in that company.
The cinematography, being a documentary style, isn't going to win any awards, but that's not to say it isn't good. The set up shots are interesting, and the scan lines are used in the right spots. It would have been so easy to just add the scan lines to every single shot, and so I appreciate that the decision was made to not do that. When we take the camera to handheld mode and follow the crew around, we get that sense of rawness, that the our characters are both aware, and uncaring that they're being filmed. Rarely does anybody ham it up, or play to the camera for the sake of a better looking angle. The storytelling, I found, was done through the camera work here. It showed us what we needed, without being too forced.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend this film. Case 347 is a wonderfully shot and told story, an anybody who has an interest in UFO conspiracies, abductions, or the found-footage genre should 100 percent give this one ago. It's currently available on various streaming site (FLIXFLING, Vimeo on Demand, Vudu, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play), so go give it a look.