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Brooklyn Horror Film Fest Review: 1974

1974 poster
@Imyourarsonist reviews...
Director: Victor Dryere
Writer: Victor Dryere
Stars: Diana Bovio, Rolando Breme, Guillermo Callahan


Review

I’m probably the last person who should be reviewing a found footage film. I have serious disdain for that style of narrative. Why is it still a thing? No, that’s not a rhetorical question. We deserve an answer. In fact, I demand one! I can’t possibly be the only one who wonders why filmmakers think it’s even a good idea anymore. But damn if I don’t love a throwback. I can’t help myself. From the minute I saw the trailer for 1974, I was salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs.  However, much like everything else in my life, I set my expectations far too high and I wound up mostly disappointed. I guess I’ll never learn…

1974 Image
When Altair (Diana Bovio) and Manuel (Rolando Breme), a young, newly married couple, mysteriously vanish, the only clues to their disappearance lie in the video tapes left behind. You need only look at the Spanish title, La Posesión de Altair, to see where it’s going.

Manuel and Altair present as a typical young couple, in love, flirty, and still enamored of each other’s quirks, including Manuel’s new video obsession, documenting everything. He even happens to have the camera handy when Altair has a rather disturbing nightmare about angels. After the dream, Altair develops some bizarre behaviors. She becomes withdrawn and obsessive, taking direction from her dreams. Manuel enlists the help of his friend Callahan (Guillermo Callahan) to help document the strange goings on at the house. He also reaches out to Altair’s sister, Tere (Blanca Alarcón), to see if anything in her past would explain her recent behavior. She isn’t quick to assist, but then volunteers some rather disturbing information which brings a little clarity to previous clues.

The final product is a pretty obvious mix of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, but uses the “angels or aliens” misdirection. Although it’s pretty clear, by the third act, what we’re dealing with. The cast is fine and do what they can with characters lacking any real substance and a script lacking in any real dialogue.

1974 image
This is not to say it’s all bad. Kudos should be given to the production design team as the 70s aesthetic is spot on. It certainly looks and feels like something that was shot in 1974 rather than a throwback. Writer/director, Victor Dryere, spent four years shooting this film, almost entirely on Super 8, and it has that wonderful grainy quality that can disguise a multitude of sins, while also enhancing the effects. It does rely heavily on jump-scares and the familiar found footage tropes, it is pretty well-paced for a “slow burn” film in its respectable 82 minute run time.

1974 is stylish, impeccably retro, and made with love, but it falls into the “style over substance” category, which is such a bummer.

Viewed as part of the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival


Suzanne Bell | Twitter: @Imyourarsonist
Images: Brooklyn Horror Fest

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