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‘Chronicle’ director: Our film isn’t about good vs. evil

January 12, 2012 |  8:33 pm

With “The Devil Inside” now the first hit of 2012, can a similar low-budget genre movie follow in its footsteps?

That’s the hope harbored by the filmmakers behind “Chronicle,” a movie that similarly uses the found-footage device to depict surreal events.

The Fox release, which comes out on Feb. 2, tells of a group teenagers who discover they’ve acquired superpowers. At first they just use it for practical jokes, but soon one of them decides to trot them out for more dangerous purposes, and the story takes a darker turn.

Most similar to “Devil” -- and, perhaps, most familiar to a generation raised on YouTube -- is that the movie’s events are being shot by an unseen amateur filmmaker. (You can check out the trailer here.)  The overall impression, as it often is with the conceit, is that we’ve come across a tape documenting events whose participants are no longer around to describe it themselves.

“The plan was to make a film that played like a personal documentary,” director Josh Trank, who also directed some scenes for the DVD of “Paranormal Activity 2,” told 24 Frames. “We’re not saying it’s real; in fact we’re very up front that it‘s fake. But we do think it's a fresh way to comment on the world.”

It remains to be seen whether the found-footage conceit continues to resonate. But for now, observers say it’s a novel way to add a level of urgency, particularly for a culture saturated in reality television.

Trank, who directed the film from a script by the up-and-coming Max Landis (son of John), said he sought to strike a balance between serious themes and the creepy thrills of seeing, say, a teenager use superpowers to make a teddy bear levitate in front of a young girl.

“I’d like to think that it’s more in the ‘District 9’ world of genre movies, a commercial context for relatable ideas,” Trank said. “Superpowers in our movie are a way to express a teenage drama. It’s a movie about inner conflict and personal problems, not good versus evil."

-- Steven Zeitchik



'Chronicle:' Like 'Paranormal Activity,' but with superpowers?

'Devil Inside' is latest film to use found footage

Does "Devil Inside" suggest a new filmmaker-studio relationship?

Photo: "Chronicle." Credit: 20th Century Fox

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