Chronicle: "I'm Stronger Than Both Of You"

Director: Josh Trank
Writer:    Max Landis
               Josh Trank
Starring: Dane DeHaan
               Michael B. Jordan
               Alex Russell
               Michael Kelly
               Ashley Hinshaw
Rating:    ***

Release Date: Out Now 

You'd think after all these years the whole 'found footage' genre of film would be a dying concept. It's been almost 15 years since The Blair Witch Project, and over 30 since Cannibal Holocaust, so what was once a fresh new way of telling a story has since become a staple in the world of cinema.

In recent years we have had some success stories, REC and the Paranormal Activity series, and then some mediocre attempts with Troll Hunter and Apollo 18, and whilst all have used the same concept they are all very different. Well, Chronicle has arrived and promised to be new, fresh and bring something different to the table, but it struggles to fully capture the audience and entertain them.

 Andrew (DeHaan), is a teenager who is struggling his way through life. His mum is ill, his dad Richard (Kelly) is a raging drunk, and his daily life is an endless ritual of school bullies, misery and humiliation. His only friend, if you can call him that, is his cousin Matt (Russell), who hangs out with him more out of pity than actually liking him.

With a chunky old camera by his side he decides to film his every moment, but unfortunately this involves pretty much everyone around him. So far things look pretty...bleak. However, everything changes when Andrew gets convinced to attend a rave with his cousin Matt, but of course the rave is situated at an abandoned warehouse.

So at the party Andrew receives another physical (and emotional) beat down, and when it becomes too much he leaves with his cousin and School President hopeful Steve (Jordan) in tow. They decide to investigate a weird cave/hole thing in the nearby woods, and it is here where things get a little bit bizarre.

The film now becomes a weird shaky camera version of X-Men with just a dash of Carrie, and somehow it starts off really well. From the harsh teenage realism of the early scenes to the superhero madness of the final scenes, it just about hangs together, despite the odd hitch. 

DeHaan does a fairly good job as the down-on-his-luck teen at the centre of things. All the awkwardness and horrors of youth are presented in such a raw and painful fashion that it's genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Once he receives his powers though, the film and character slowly morphs into something else, but underneath that awful pain remains. 

Most superhero flick preach about doing good with your powers, and with it comes great responsibility, but in Chronicle it actually show that you can do whatever the hell you want. Admittedly it comes with it's consequences, but as teenagers this is much more realistic.

I actually think that the film works in the found-footage format, as it helps with the teenager messing about feel. It's actually really effective, and the constraints that come with this sort of film work. The natural performances from the three leads make the are really impressive and help the film move along with ease, that and the impressive special effects.

There are many good things about this film, and as a whole I did enjoy it; it just wasn't as impressive as I had hoped. I often felt let down and that while the trailers looked intense and epic, the film sometimes failed to reach the levels I was expecting. It's filled with special effects, drama, and surprisingly impressive acting; but unfortunately as a whole something just doesn't work.

Chronicle - Trailer