I must say that found footage or shaky cam horror is the hardest for me to have an appreciation for. It’s no longer a novelty, it’s an established subgenre of horror now. I guess that’s mostly a good thing. Younger horror fans won’t have the curve that I do in showing some appreciation for it, they will have nostalgia instead; they are growing up on it. Either I’m coming around, or the films are getting better; maybe it’s a combination of the two. Case in point is Hooked Up. This film has some pretty noteworthy historical significance, first and foremost: It has a claim as the very first feature film to be shot on an iPhone; some will argue this, but I won’t. It’s certainly not the only one, but it could well be the first. As proponents of found footage and shaky cam films will tell you “A champagne story will shine through a beer budget”; Hooked Up is a textbook example.
I like the title, but I think the movie is deeper than its moniker. This isn’t a slasher flick or a Hostel-type film, although I would dig it nonetheless if it was. At its core, it’s a wonderfully ambiguous ghost story. The set up comes with an impromptu trip to Barcelona. Peter has had his heart broken through one moment of minor indiscretion, when his steady Lisa sees him kissing another girl. His well-meaning friend Tonio thinks a change of scenery will help him get back in the game (I did describe Tonio as well-meaning; he got Peter drunk at the party where he kissed the other girl in the first place!). When they arrive, Peter is still pretty much a pathetic mess of regret. Tonio isn’t having much luck on his A game until the girls get a little drunker. By this time Peter has his drink on, and an exotic dark haired beauty finally notices him. Fellas, remember one of the most fundamental foundations of horror film education: if you hook up too easy with the hot girls, trouble is gonna follow.
What happens next is a jittery, paranoid, and creepy ride where I forgot about how the movie was shot. By the way, the film looks pretty good. The setting where all the scary stuff happens is a claustrophobic and dimly lit maze where the hand held shots are perfect for it. Limited perspective and shadowy hallways draw you in to keep your eyes moving as you watch it. The writing stokes a blazing supernatural premise with some really incendiary kindling of love lost and the boundaries of friendship. A good story about some really heavy stuff.
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