Once seen, FOUND will not soon be forgotten, for it is a horror movie that pulls no punches, and takes its premise all the way. Made for only eight thousand dollars, it delivers the kind of kick to the gut those high concept, CGI laden reboots, and remakes, populating the multiplexes wish they could give an audience. In every way, this movie is the antidote to the mediocrity of PG-13; in truth, if this film, which is unrated, were to be given a rating by the MPAA, it would surely be NC- 17. There is extreme gore of the very explicit 21st Century variety, but for me, the scenes of emotional horror and trauma were far worse; this movie goes to the heart of darkness, and then keeps on going.
We know what we are in for in the first scene, where Marty, a shy and bullied 5th Grader, finds a severed human head in a bag inside of his older brother Steve's bedroom closet. Turns out his big bro is a serial killer, a fact to which Marty's typically suburban parents are totally oblivious. Marty decides to keep this awful secret, for he loves his brother, the only member of the family with whom he can relate, but this proves to be a fateful mistake, as Marty, a kid who finds escape in horror movies, finds that his life is rapidly becoming one. Marty is no wisecracking tween from a Spielberg picture, but an emotionally immature and painfully withdrawn kid, very much like the ones you would find in any classroom in the real world. That is one of the reasons why this movie is so tough to take.
Serial killers have become a pop culture trope in the past few decades, and in many TV shows and movies they have morphed into a variant of the super villain, like the character of James Patrick March in American HORROR STORY: HOTEL. But Steve is no Dexter, he is a nuclear bomb, and when he finally detonates, and his true nature is revealed, he will vaporize all those close to him and leave a wasteland of collateral damage for the survivors. There is torture, sadism, cannibalism, necrophilia, and full frontal, but the scenes of Marty being bullied have a special power to make the viewer squirm, as FOUND conveys the ugly truth that bullies, even when they are called out, never receive proper punishment; are never adequately paid back in equal measure for the pain they have dealt out. I found myself totally on Marty's side when he turns on one of his tormentors and puts a brutal beat down on him, then stands his ground when chastised by adults.
Reportedly, FOUND was made for only $8,000 in Indiana, if so, then it is amazing how they did so much with so little. All credit to director Scott Schirmer and screenwriter, Todd Rigney, for putting big time Hollywood to shame. Some of the acting is not up to standard, but Gavin Brown as Marty, and Ethan Philbeck as Steve are spot on. And special thanks to S.A. Bradley at the Hell Bent for Horror podcast for steering me to this exceptional film. After watching it on Blu Ray, what I was feeling must have been akin to what the first audiences to see NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD felt when they walked out of the theater back in 1968.