There's no doubt that the horror genre is one of the biggest out there with too many sub-genres to even keep track of these days. Whether it's supernatural, slasher or torture porn, there's arguably something for everyone that loves to be scared half to death. With such a wide and wonderful variety of stories and ideas comes a questionable level of quality, especially when it comes to digital releases and those that go straight to streaming, DVD and Blu-ray. Skipping the traditional cinema route doesn't always make for a bad film, as these can be some of the most original and creative movies out there, but it can be a real struggle to get a reasonable audience. Thankfully Horror fans are some of the most passionate and loyal out there, and many projects succeed on word of mouth alone.
One such project that has had people talking over the past year is Capture Kill Release. Shot entirely from a first-person documentary perspective, directors Nick McAnulty and Brian Allan Stewart present a story that does exactly what it says on the tin. We follow a couple who are looking for their next buzz in life and go to the extreme in capturing and killing someone together. The leads Jennifer (Fraser) and Farhang (Ghajar) have a natural chemistry together, with McAnulty and Stewart managing to direct them in such a way that never feels forced or intrusive, almost as if this really genuinely is found footage. Yes, we've all seen Blair Witch and the numerous attempts at recreating that success in the years since, but Capture Kill Release never feels like it's trying to imitate.
This is not a movie about budget or big stars or anything like that. There's a focus on making the audience feel unsettled, as if we're watching something that we really shouldn't be, but for some reason we cannot look away. It's that car crash on the side of the road that you know is horrific but you simply have to take a peek on the way past. Here it's Jennifer who truly drives the disgusting and horrendous plan of torture and murder, while Farhang seems a little more on the sane side. He definitely needs a lot of persuading, and it's their relationship that really drives the story. He may want to keep her happy, but how far will he actually go? And is their love true or is Jennifer simply relying on a man she thinks she can manipulate easily to get what she wants?
Writer/co-director McAnulty works with Stewart to create a visceral and unsettling environment that has a surprisingly good level of gore and FX for something so low-budget. You can see why a number of people have walked out at screenings at festivals, unable to stomach what is presented before them. It's the realism and harshness of the actions, coupled with Jennifer's clear unstable personality, that makes you feel like this is something that could easily happen out there in the real world. There's no fantasy element to Capture Kill Release. Just pure terror and violence that could happen to any of us at any time.
Depending on how hardcore your horror tastes are, this could be anything from slightly comedic to completely unwatchable. How much enjoyment you get out of Capture Kill Release really depends on your fondness for this style of movie. It can be quite jarring for someone who's used to glossy big budget traditional Hollywood releases, and in that case you're better off looking for Friday 13th Part 100 or similar. Yet if you're someone who's looking for their next Horror fix in any way possible, and you're always looking to push the boundaries, then Capture Kill Release will certainly satisfy that craving. The independent scene is thriving and this is the latest entry in a long line of releases that are trying to think outside the box and take the genre in new and innovative directions while still staying loyal to the familiar tropes and expectations.