A group of friends sneaks into an abandoned prison with the intention of making a ghost hunting video, until they start to go missing one by one.
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The only thing worse than a bad found footage horror movie is a movie about people making a bad found footage horror movie. And that's exactly what Against the Night
Against the Night
is about an amateur filmmaker named Hank (Luke Persiani) who talks his friends into spending the night in an abandoned - and supposedly haunted - prison in order to shoot a ghost hunting video. Of course, once they get there, they are divided and begin to disappear, one by one. Those left must avoid whoever - or whatever - is stalking them long enough to find their way out of the prison.
That's Against the Night
in a nutshell. The movie is the brainchild of documentary/television director Brian Cavallaro ("Strangers in Danger"), so it almost seems as if he wrote what he knows and injected a bit of himself into the character of Hank. The concept of the paranormal investigation is an effective one, if a bit overdone, but Against the Night
is padded thick with party antics and high school-style drama. It doesn't help that the characters are interchangeable, and therefore disposable. There is no bankable "final girl" in the film. The audience finds itself rooting against the kids, just because they're so sterile and unmemorable.
Against the Night
is a little frustrating to watch. It can't figure out what kind of movie it wants to be. It's presented in a combination of traditional filmmaking and found footage, so it never establishes a clear identity there. The threat is ambiguous, yet instead of being mysterious and enigmatic, it just seems as if the filmmakers couldn't decide on a concrete antagonist. And as soon as the plot of the film starts to go in a solid direction, it changes. Only, instead of being a clever twist, it's a weak attempt at a red herring goose chase. Add in the fact that the opening credits and the first scene telegraph how the movie is going to end, and what's the point?
With a title as generic as Against the Night
, this movie is destined to be forgotten. And that's probably the best fate for it.
Found footage movies always have the potential to be scary, if only because of the added authenticity of the "true" story. Against the Night
takes that potential away with its hybrid filmmaking style. So it's reduced to being just a regular horror movie, which can also be scary, when the filmmakers take the time to set things up. Against the Night
doesn't do that. The scares in the movie are not convincing at all. The viewer almost expects them all to be in-movie jokes, like the victim is going to hop up with a laugh and say "just kidding!" There's a bit of an air of paranoia to the movie due to the fact that the kids never really know what's chasing them around the prison, but even that isn't built up to its full potential. Against the Night
is just lazy filmmaking, and cinematic fear cannot be generated from lazy filmmaking.