Don’t do drugs, people. Okay, that’s a little harsh, let me rephrase that: Don’t do drugs unless you’re prepared for the real life horror that can come of it. And that’s exactly the lesson learned (well, sort of learned) by a group of socialites in Justin Cole’s “The Upper Footage,” a brutally honest and maddening descent into one nightmarish party that went way too far.
You see, according to multiple sources, a video of a girl’s drug overdose and subsequent death leaked online, yet no one has been brought to justice due to the affluent nature of the parties involved. However, a 90-minute segment of the home video of the incident is now available to watch: “The Upper Footage.”
The film opens with an unbelievably clever and convincing segment introducing this found footage, practically guaranteeing its authenticity. It hooked me in, that’s for damn sure, and the realism never died throughout the entire movie, which is both the strength and potential flaw in “The Upper Footage.” I say that because while this may be one of the most believable found footage film I have ever seen, it’s a hard movie to really enjoy simply because it’s so repulsive. I mean that as a compliment. And the fact that the “victim” in this film’s face is blurred adds an interesting element as well, not only to the “authenticity” the film tries to create, but also to the unsettling vibe this film emanates as a whole.
Real life horror happens every single day, and unfortunately it’s rarely fair. “The Upper Footage” merely sheds light on this harsh reality, and as we follow these characters through their night of coked up debauchery, we only learn to hate them more. This film is successful not only in its ability to shock you with its content, but also fills you with a certain loathing of every character on screen and the situation they create. The worst part of it is that you probably know people like this, and we all know that it’s possible to get away with murder in America. It’s a truly convincing film all around that left me feeling incredibly disturbed and uncomfortable.
The highlight of this film is its unbelievable editing and patience. There is no rush, and nothing is forced–you simply see the events as they happen and not much else. That being said, to be able to truly appreciate “The Upper Footage,” you must show the same patience in return, as this isn’t a horror film per se, this is just a film where horrible things happen…often in real time. But sometimes the scariest things don’t have to jump out at you, but simply unfold slowly before your eyes.
This film is probably not for the casual horror viewer, but it definitely satisfied my urge to watch something really, really nasty. Watch it at your own risk, as “The Upper Footage” is really raw and powerful, but will probably crawl its way under your skin. In fact, it might just leave you feeling kind of fucked up.