Director/Screenplay – S. DeGennaro, Producers – Steven DeGennaro, Kim Henkel & Charles Mulford, Photography – Drew Daniels, Visual Effects Supervisor – Trevor Harris, Spectre Visual Effects – Mighty Coconut, Special Effects Supervisor – Everett Byrom III, Makeup Effects – Eric Zapata, Production Design – Claire M.White. Production Company – Impeccable Pictures/The Ubiquitous Studio 42.
Carter Roy (Derek James), Alena Von Stroheim (Amy Mitchell), Chris O’Brien (Mark James), Tom Saporito (Andrew Reed), Scott Allen Perry (Carl), Jessica Perrin (Lily), Scott Weinberg (Himself), Doran Ingrham (Earnest Old-Timer), John Daws (Wise-Ass Old Timer)
Director Derek James assembles a small film crew with the intention of travelling to a property in backwoods Gonzalez, Texas and shooting the world’s first 3D Found Footage film. In the lead roles, he has cast himself and his wife Amy Mitchell with whom he is undergoing a break-up. Soon after they begin shooting, the strains in the marriage start to bleed into the characters of the married couple that Derek and Amy are playing on screen. At the same time, others notice spectral forces appearing on the film footage and there are spooky incidents around the house.
Found Footage was the fad that began with The Blair Witch Project (1999) and went stellar following the success of Paranormal Activity (2007). The found Footage fad involves film faked to look as though it is shot ragged and raw by people in the midst of action. Most but not all entries rest in the horror genre. Found Footage 3D does boast the novelty of being the first Found Footage film shot in 3D, although in actuality the filmmakers were beaten on that claim by Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015). I have a more detailed list of such films here with Found Footage Films).
Found Footage 3D is also an absolutely hilarious Parody of the Found Footage film. This becomes apparent from about the opening scene where the title card announces that filmmakers went missing, this is the film that was recovered etc etc and then we cut to the makers of the film deconstructing the announcement. A little while later the film crew come across two old-timers sitting on a bar porch and try to rehearse them to give a warning about where they are going, where the two get every instruction wrong, before the film crew go to depart and the old-timers learn where they are going and deliver an actual warning about not going there.
The film also engages in a good deal of Meta-Fictional play. The set-up has director Carter Roy and estranged wife Alena Von Stroheim playing a married couple on screen where the off-screen tensions between the two keep bleeding into the on-screens scenes in ways that make your head spin. DeGennaro will cut from a scene of upset where Amelia sees Carter Roy fooling with another girl to a full-on argument on screen before we pull back and find that that is only the two of them playing out a scene in the film.
The film often has a head-spinning quality to it only matched by the amazingly demented Director’s Cut (2016) around the same time or before that Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006). The funniest of these scenes is when the group are trying to set up a scene where a shovel falls down in the barn and hits Alena Von Stroheim and she holds shooting up to debate what a cliché this is, before assistant Jessica Perrin steps up to defend her script changes – just as a shovel swings down and hits her on the head.
In between this, DeGennaro also creates some eerie moments with ghostly apparitions appearing in the background on pieces of film. (The one complaint you could make about the film is that it never offers any explanations about what the haunting entities on the farm are). Even the climax, where the film heads in traditional directions, has an enormous cleverness to it where DeGennaro manages to shoot haunted manifestations with the use of two point-of-view cameras operating simultaneously in split screen.