THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
and Timothy V. Murphy
What's it about
John Venkenheim is a young scientist with something to prove. He rounds up a film crew and heads into the deep, dark woods of Canada to find a created humanoid creature (in essence, a Frankenstein monster). Since this is a horror movie, you can bet that John and company run into some real trouble.
Is it good movie?
I know I can't possibly be alone in thinking that a found footage style
bigfoot/Frankenstein monster flick would be awesome. I don't mind a
good found footage movie if it brings something interesting to the
table, and this one certainly has a cool concept. Coming from director
Andrew Weiner, I'm disappointed to have to tell you that what could
have been super awesome has turned out to be a pretty lame monster
story as opposed to a story with any depth or originality. The monster
could almost have been switched out for any kind of mythical creature.
Kris Lemche plays our wacky obsessed doctor, who is really out to sell
you on this film and does a fairly decent job, though the character can
be pretty tough to like through his levels of obsession. As I mentioned
before, this film doesn't focus much on the "Frankenstein" aspect of
things as you might hope and keeps many things in the darkness. For
much of the film, you have to go by Venkenheim's thoughts, theories and
beliefs. In fact, if you're looking for much monster-y goodness, you
should look elsewhere. Like Blair Witch and others before it, this
flick relies heavily on blurry night vision shots, lots of talking and
"what was that" sort of stuff.
On top of that, the pacing of the film seems a little off. It takes the
documentary crew so freaking long to get to their locale in the
Northwest Territories that the movie has to try to get some scares and
suspense by drumming up past encounters with local weirdos that come
off really poorly. Things move well once the crew finally gets in the
woods (and these woods have character, as they're in the deep, open
areas in what is essentially a frozen tundra). In terms of the crew and
their acting, it's all pretty typical stuff here. You get the believer,
the one who refuses to buy in, and the one who's scared of everything.
Still, they're doing their best and the cast isn't really a problem
here. Christine Lakin's interviewer and Tim Murphy's wilderness guide
are particularly effective and add to the proceedings.
Unfortunately though, the complaint that tends to ring true with many
found footage flicks rears its ugly head here. It's a bit of a theory I
have: no matter how suspenseful something seems, you need to think
about watching it again afterwards. If the flick doesn't pay off like
you might hope and all the suspense leads to dead ends, you'll know
that you've been had and although you watched it once, you know you
won't watch it again because it doesn't all add up, if that makes any
At the end of the film, I have to say I wound up disappointed. You're
waiting and waiting and there is a brief payoff but it just doesn't
feel like it's enough. It's too bad that even after a decent final few
minutes, the audience is left unfulfilled. Why couldn't the
Frankenstein myth be looked at more deeply? Why is this monster just a
bloodthirsty murderer (have you ever read the book)?
Video / Audio
Video: 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen,
and looks as gloriously hideous as a handheld footage film should.
Nothing special here.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 comes
through quite clearly, again, nothing special but totally passable.
Nothing to see here.
The Frankenstein Theory unfortunately wastes a fantastic premise that
could have paid off in spades. Instead, it's a well acted and somewhat
competently put together film that feels really predictable and
run-of-the-mill, with a monster that is almost inconsequential. Too bad.